RealTrippin’

Xavier slipped the cage, as it was known over his head. He adjusted the device so that the electrodes sat on his temples with the third touching the back of his head where his neck began.

Less than a second after voice-activating the unit, he felt the rush of the virtual reality arch rushing towards him. And so, Xavier arrived on yet another RealTrip.

Though he’d been warned about the gang-wars of the 1980s, he found returning to the ‘simpler days of the 20th century’ refreshing. “Besides, the only time someone gets hurt or killed during a RealTrip is if they do something stupid like loop themselves into having one orgasm after another,” he told himself.

No, Xavier wasn’t after sex. Instead, he had found a safe way to experience crack cocaine without getting hooked or having to deal with real drug dealers.

Besides, he found Compton, California and it’s streets to be less dangerous than his everyday work life, pounding red rocks on the surface of dust-laden Mars. Also, unlike his real-life conditions, Xavier could enjoy the sensation of sunshine on his face.

And as he walked south on Main from Compton Blvd toward Redondo Beach Blvd., he couldn’t help but wonder how many others using RealTrip enjoyed the same feeling as he did.

His revere came to an end as two men rapidly approached him. They wore jeans, heavily creased down the front of each leg, full white tee’s and bandana’s, all signs Xavier recognized as clothing worn by gang members of the time-period.

“Best avoid these two,” he thought as he crossed the street, dodging traffic as it moved in both directions. Cars, trucks and the like were a hazard Xavier didn’t have to worry about on Mars.

The pair also crossed the street. Xavier felt a sudden tenseness in his gut.

“Hey, what’sa cracker-ass like you doin’ on our street?” the smaller one growled.

Xavier didn’t answer. Instead he began to will himself out of the trance that RealTrip had placed him in, but he was too late.

“I axed you a question, White-boy!” the smaller one yelled as he pounced, placing Xavier in a throat-crushing head-lock.

With fear overriding his theta waves he was powerless to escape the alternate reality he placed himself in. Instead, he felt the blows of the larger one slamming his fist repeatedly into the side of his head causing an explosion of white lights followed by complete darkness.

As suddenly as he slipped into unconsciousness, he found himself coming back to his sense. That’s when he grew aware of the coldness of a knife blade pressed against his Adam’s Apple.

“This is a RealTrip, right?” he said aloud.

“Yeah, it’s a RealTrip, asshole,” he heard a voice snarl. Xavier realized that his RealTrip experience had been ‘jacked’ by criminals known as MalFactors.

“Yeah, ya little cock-sucka,” a second voice grunted, “Teach you to avoid ‘synth,’ by RealTrippin’ the fake shit.”

He felt the knife press hard into his skin until Xavier could no longer ignore the weakness of his body and the heavy warmth that spilled liberally down the front of his shirt.

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Nonsense that’s Fit to Print

Originally, I wanted to title this, “Sergeant Murray and the Invincible Goat-Ropers,” but that would have made as much sense as what follows.  Jus’ nod your head slowly in agreement and go with the flow.

There’s a Soccer-mom, Grammar and Thread-Nazi, and the bald Italian guy up the street, whom for the life of me, I cannot understand when he talks, all gaming me. With that being stated, for 58 days I’ve been outside my box, thinking — thus their superficial play-date.

“Imagine that – me thinking — outside the box. It’s almost laughable,” I tell myself as I hear Foghorn Leghorn in the background roostering, “It’s a joke, son, a joke! Get it? Thinkin’ outside the box? That boy’s denser than corrugated cardboard.”

And while the Oppressed Earth Pants Corps., mandated force-feedings of salt-peter has long since been flushed from my system, I’ve been able to sustain my inner man-child on daily rations of stale beef jerky and two-day old hot coffee. And it’s because of these items, several red helium-filled balloons and a Russian spyware game issued by CNN, that I have managed to accidentally give away my position.

(If they wanted it that badly, all they have to do is ask, but since no-one asked, I’ll go a step further and share my coordinates: 39°39′30″N 119°41′42″W.  Simple, huh?)

Honestly, I never really understood why we have had two satellite dishes attached to our home for all these years.  Now – I know – or at least I think I know. And there it is, the time for playing over, “It’s time to engage in some kick-the-can before the vapor-lamps buzz and flicker to life,” I say to the dogs as I head out into the street.

“Maybe there’s time enough to make asphalt-angels on the black-top, if we hurry,” one of four responds, knowing I cannot recognize any of their voices.

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Universal Carnival Mirror

Archie has a bunch of problems, all self-made – booze, money, women, but Archie also has the solution.  A universal carnival mirror that’ll let him go back in time, with enough duration to fix any future mistakes after they occur.

Recently, Archie acquired another problem – all those other Archie’s.  They appear after each use of the mirror and the more he tries to get rid of them, the more they multiply.

Across the galaxy, F’flavex finds herself blessed with a twenty-fifth alien life-form. She doesn’t understand where they’re coming from but she does know her 10-thousand hungry children are getting fed.

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Double-Windsor of Death

It’s exhausting, dragging my pet Anaconda around the hallways of this little box. Every few minutes I find my inner man-child having to wipe off the dust-bunnies from its ‘shroom-shaped head.

But finally I grow smart and decide to turn the beast into a neck-tie, keeping it off the cold linoleum. I toss it around my shoulders, crossing the wide end over the narrow end, bringing the wide end up through the loop, then drawing the wide end back down.

My memory has yet to fail me and it seems I can tie a double-Windsor knot in my sleep. I slide the wide end underneath the narrow end and fold it to the right, then I pull the wide end through the loop between my pet Anaconda and my neck, and tighten the wrapping.

Finally, I take the wide end and wrap over the narrow end so that the front of the wide end is visible, then I pull the wide end up through the loop again. By bringing the wide end down through the knot in front, I tighten the knot carefully and draw it up to my Adam’s apple.

Soon it’s suppertime, so I go to the lavatory and splash water in my face, slick back my hair and wash my hands. I always take my meals in my room and so I happily walk that direction, feeling confident that my ‘adapt-and-overcome skills’ will impress Nurse Wratchet.

However, as I enter the door way to my cardboard cutout I realize I forgot something. My daily dose of salt-peter has ebbed and my pet Anaconda is now becoming enraged, with murder on its mind, and before I know it, I’m in the throes of being hanged on the door-jamb by a card-carrying member of Slythern.

So much for making a fashion statement.

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‘No Problem’ is the Problem

Going to the grocery store’s not my idea of fun, but it’s the only place I can pick up my most coveted man-child survival supplies — beef jerky and coffee. I must restock my secret stash before returning to my box and the all-important daily filing of the meta-data.

The teenager handed me my change and I said, “Thank you.”

“No problem,” he answered with a smile. I stood there looking at him, hoping to no avail he’d change his response.

“It’s not ‘no problem,’” said to him, “It’s ‘thank you.’ And I’d like to hear ya say it before I leave.”

The Soccer-mom behind me gave me a nervous smile, certain she knew where all of this was heading, but unable or perhaps unwilling to interfere with my already-launched correction. I smiled back, hoping to calm her fears.

The kid grew all boggle-eyed and his jaw moved up and down in rapid fashion as I tried coaxing him, “You can do it – it won’t kill ya.”

“Th-th-th-thank y-y-you?” he stammered.

As he finished speaking, the kid suddenly popped — like a balloon filled with chilled lime-green Jello — leaving smatterings all over the register. They immediately began reforming, moving towards where the youngster had once stood, much like hundreds of Banana Slugs.

I knew he was going to be okie-dokey and eventually would grow from the experience.

“You’re welcome,” I said as I started to turn away, “And, see — I told you it wouldn’t kill ya.”

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Cat Fishing Nurse Wratchet

Holed-up all night in my proverbial box, I’ve been wrestling with my pet ‘Anaconda’ and we’ve been losing. Suddenly the key turns in the door and there stands Nurse Wratchet, screaming, “What are you doing?!”

After explaining that I’m wresting with my pet ‘Anaconda,’ she responds, “That’s no snake, that’s a friggin’ worm!”

Not one to let a good insult slip by, I hold upright what she’s calling a worm and ask, “Then would’ya like to go cat fishing with me?”

She slams the door shut.

“That’s what I thought,” I yell after her, “You’re scared of Hogwarts and Slytheren!’”

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Dried Mud and Dogs

“Damned dogs,” I shout as I continue sweeping, “Go away – go!”

Play is all they want to do as I try to clean up the dried mud falling from their paws. Yes, it’s been raining heavily, off and on, the last four days, but seeing this much mud throughout the living room and hallway’s maddening.

The more I try to shoo away the dogs, the more they think I’m playing. I’m not – I’m pissed, because every time I take another step, in another direction I find more dried mud.

“Crap!” I exclaim, realizing the mud’s coming from my tennis shoes.

 

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The Dangers of Free-Range Dinosaurs

Terkerkue’ walked across the yard and peeked between the metal slats of the electrified fence, making certain not to touch it. Designed to keep things out and not in and it left her feeling restless.

She had reclaimed her ancestral name, the one meaning Quail, that her Grandfather had given her as a newborn. Terkerkue’ felt it was fitting, seeing as how she was facing a new beginning.

Furthermore, she wanted to hunt some fresh vegetables, not the canned and condensed stuff they shipped all over the galaxy – but the real, have to fix yourself kind. Because of this she had decided to take her house cat, Marauder, her shot-gun and stock her personal pantry.

“Beyond the fence is dangerous,” her eldest son warned, “I wish you’d let me go with you.”

“Marauder and Betsy, here,” she lifted the shotgun slightly, “are all I need.”

She walked to the large gate, waved to the far lookout tower and the heavy metal door began grinding open. Terkerkue’ didn’t allow it to open fully as she and Marauder slipped beyond the safe confines of their village.

The multi-dee-ni’ reservation, ‘Native American One,’ held the distinction of being one of the first territories the World Federation had annexed following a worm-hole jump of more than four-light years. Proxima B as the planet was officially known had few inhabitants as far as anyone could tell. In fact, researchers were fairly certain that the planet was moving through a late Cretaceous period, putting it about 77 million years behind planet Earth.

It pleased Terkerkue’ that there were so few people populating the blue-green orb. She wouldn’t have decided to help her country colonize the planet had there been people displaced and land stolen.

“It jus’ wouldn’t be right,” she told her daughter, “especially being Yurok.”

Quietly, she tread through the overgrown forest, trees, much like the one’s she grew up admiring as a child along the Lost Coast. She felt as if she belonged to this land, the new territory and all the creatures that dwelled here.

Suddenly,  Terkerkue’ found what she’d been looking for; wild articulated zucchini. Marauder paused and pointed his nose in the direction of what he felt was the best angle to shoot, knowing she had only the one chance and that if she missed they’d scatter in all directions and she’d have to spend another two-hours following their sign.

“Boom, boom!”

The two blasts, back to back dropped 18 of them as they broke for cover. Terkerkue’ smiled as she began the task of collecting and readying them for the transport drone, she had requested the evening before.

As she waited, she resupplied the old-fashioned weapon with two more shells to replace the one’s she had fired. She also picked up the two spent casing that she’d ejected a couple of minutes ago.

That’s when she noticed Marauder, his ears were laid back and his back hairs bristled. The usually diminutive house cat had caught sense of something moving slightly beyond the brush line.

Terkerkue’ slowly and as quietly as possible racked a shell into place and then stood still. There was no telling what sort of something was hiding jus’ out of sight and she instinctively new to be on her guard for the worst possible outcome.

Then – there it was – a new species of free-range dinosaur. They had only recently been discovered and not much was known about the chicken-sized, feather-covered reptile.

“Kinda cute,” Terkerkue’ stated to Marauder, whose tail was twitching back and forth in a natural rhythmic fashion. Then she added, as she raised her shotgun, “I bet they taste like chicken, too.”

She squeeze off a round, dropping the tiny lizard. But that’s when all Hell broke loose as nearly two dozen of the damned things swarmed out of the brush line, attacking ‘ Terkerkue’ with the belligerence of a T. Rex.

She eventually awakened after nearly three-weeks in a drug induced coma. Her head hurt as did her right arm and amid all the pain she found herself confused about her surroundings.

“You’re in hospital, dear,” a smiling latex-covered nurse, which looked more like a ‘70’s porn star than an artificially intelligent medical robot, stated.

Terkerkue’ looked at her right arm, the stitches and grafting visible, “Holy crap, that’s gonna leave a scar!”

Then she looked up and saw her reflection of the plasma flat screen on the wall at the foot of her bed. She had a series of staples holding the top and side of her nearly bald head together.

They ran down the side of her face as well, “Holy, shit! That’s gonna really leave friggin’ a scar!”

Terkerkue’ felt a lump well up in her throat and the strong wish to cry. Then she remembered something else, “And my car?” she asked, sounding more panicked than she liked.

“A what, dear?” the AI asked, not understanding.

“My car — what about my car?” she asked again.

The Automaton stopped what it was doing, becoming expressionless. It then looking at her, answered with a smile, “There is no car. A flock of Hesperonychus elizabethae attacked youYou barely survived, dear.”

Terkerkue’ looked around the sterile white room and attempted to sit up, “I must’ve been dreaming or something – I thought I had slammed into a Redwood tree.”

“A what, dear?” the AI asked.

“A Redwood…oh, never mind,” Terkerkue’ answered, miffed that something supposedly much smarter than she, could actually be so damned stupid.

Right then, Marauder jumped up onto the foot of her bed and mewed loudly. As Terkerkue’  looked at the compact little house cat, she thought for sure she’d seen him smile at her, then wink like the Cheshire Cat from ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

“Whoa – must be some really good drugs,” she mumbled, as she drifted to sleep.

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Modified Homicide

Cindy dropped four quarters in the vending machine and pushed ‘F-7.’ The corresponding screw twisted clockwise and down fell a cellophane wrapped package of microwavable popcorn.

She unwrapped the package and checked the preparation instructions, flattening out the folded popcorn container, before slipping it in the ‘nuker.’ As she did this, her co-worker, Maria walked in to the office break room and headed towards the coffee maker.

“Hey, Maria,” Cindy chirped, “How was your weekend?”

Maria turned and smiled, “Great! We went to the lake on Saturday.”

“Was it crowded?” Cindy asked as the microwave continued to hum and popcorn kernels burst like rapid gunfire.

“Boy was it,” Maria answered as she measured the powdered creamer into her newly poured cup of coffee, “but we found a place to park and even got a nice patch of grass to have our picnic on. How ‘bout you?”

“I stayed home, did some laundry, cleaned my house and worked in the garden,” Cindy responded.

The bell dinged on the microwave and Cindy punched the door open. Instantly, the room filled with the warm aroma of freshly cooked popcorn.

Maria sipping her coffee, move next to Cindy with the hope of continuing their conversation. As for Cindy she was busy trying to open the now-ballooned bag without scalding her fingers from the heated content.

As the bag’s top parted, steam rolled out and as it did, the room shook with a loud explosion that shattered the glass face of the microwave and blew the two women half way across the floor. The blast jarred the building, alerting those working there to call 9-1-1 for help.

Once both women were in their way to the hospital, detectives arrived to investigate the incident. One was younger than the other, but both had seen more than their share of tragedy during their careers.

“Well, what did the first officer on the scene have to say?” the older cop asked the younger one.

The younger one, a stickler for procedure referred to his note pad as he answered, “When he arrived he saw the two women down, where we see the blood, the redhead appeared to have the greater injuries while the Hispanic woman wasn’t as badly hurt. He said, and I’m quoting, ‘They both looked like they been blasted by a scatter-gun.’”

“That doesn’t tell us much,” the older investigator replied, “But it gives us a starting point.”

He looked around, then squatted. He picked up a popcorn kernel between his rubber-gloved finger and thumb, rolling it around as he examined it.

“Have ‘Crime Scene,’ bag these,” he instructed as he showed the kernel to his partner, “Have’em get a half-dozen swabs from both blood trails, impound the microwave and get photos all around. I’ll start the canvassing.”

Suddenly the younger detectives cellphone rang, he answered it, “Yes? I see. Thanks.” He turned to his partner, “The redhead is D-O-A, the others in surgery. She’s expected to survive.”

As the older one turned to leave the break room for the main office floor, a small scrap of paper laying half under the nearby vending machine caught his attention, prompting him to ask the younger man, “What’s that?”

Seeing it to, the younger cop bend down and scooped it up, “Looks like a wrapper of some sort.”

“Yeah, the wrapper to microwavable popcorn,” the old one comment. He quickly reached through the shattered vending machine’s glass door and pulled out a package of unpopped corn and held the scrap and the package side-by-side.

“Identical,” the young cop stated.

Then the older one turned to him and said, “I think I know what happened here. Genetically modified popcorn – it’s known to be very unstable, especially when bombarded with intense energy.”

“Yup,” the other one responded in agreement, “Those G-M-O’s are known to be real killers.”

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Nevada’s Political Season is Here

The gloves are off in Nevada as State Treasurer Dan Schwartz has made his gubernatorial bid known, and the GOP establishment came out swinging at him. Immediately following his announcement, a series of attack ads hit the radio waves and Internet calling him a shill for a Republican super PAC with ties to Republican mega-donors Joe Ricketts and Sheldon Adelson.

Elected as treasurer in 2014, Schwartz attacked so-called “pay for play” politics while making his announcement by claiming he’d be an independent voice in the governor’s mansion. Incidentally, Schwartz’s primary opponent, Adam Laxalt, received $55,000 in campaign donations from Adelson family during his successful 2014 bid for attorney general.

And finally, one of Laxalt’s top lawyers, Wes Duncan has exited the AG’s office setting himself up for a run at the office’s top spot in 2018. Duncan is a former GOP Assemblyman and is going to work for Hutchison & Steffen, a law firm headed by current Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison.

This is what political inbreeding looks like – and it seems to get uglier and stupider as time goes by.

And proving once more that politics isn’t simply for the professional politician – MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. have attacked President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. The reason they are actually against DACA is because of state regulations which compel the Nevada Gaming Commission enforce whatever federal action emerges.

That means the state Gaming Control Board (GCB) which monitors licensees’ compliance with federal law would have to penalize them if they fail to uphold the law – whatever it might be. And finally, there’s the claim by Progressive think-tank ‘Center for American Progress’ calculating that Nevada will take a $585 million economic hit over the next decade should DACA come to an end.

It proves that in the end MGM and Caesars aren’t really looking out for their employees, but rather their bottom-lines.

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Army Toys

Marsha watched as her brother got out of his car and removed the wrapped package from his back seat. She was expecting him since today was her son, Timmy’s tenth birthday.

“Your Uncle Bob is here,” she called out to the back of the house.

“Coming,” came Timmy’s response and then him seconds later.

He met his Uncle Bob at the door. For his part, Bob handled the package to the boy, saying “Happy birthday, Timmy!”

Immediately, the boy sat down and began tearing off the wrapping to see what his only Uncle had brought him. Timmy’s excitement was barely containable when he saw it was a set of Army toys — complete with a plastic green helmet, a real sounding toy machine gun, a canteen and a rubber knife with sheath.

“Thank you, Uncle Bob,” Timmy squealed in delight as he slipped the canteen and knife on his belt.

Donning his new helmet and picking up his machine gun, he turned to his mother and asked, “Can I please go outside and play? Please?”

Marsha sighed, “Oh, alright – but don’t leave the yard.”

With that Timmy disappeared through the kitchen and out the screen door into his backyard. The two adults could hear the chatter of the machine gun as Timmy pulled the trigger and made explosion sounds with his mouth.

“Bob,” Marsha lilted, “You know how I don’t approve of those things.”

“Oh, Sis,” he returned, “I know, but I talked with Bill and he and I agreed Timmy should be allowed to play like any other boy.”

“So William put you up to this, huh?” Marsha asked in an accusatory tone.

“No, I made the decision myself,” Bob retorted, “So don’t go picking a fight with your old man. It was only a conversation and he never asked me to do anything.”

“Well, you know,” Marsha said, changing the subject, “Toy’s like this invite violence and I don’t want Timmy learning that it’s okay to shoot and kill people, even if it is only make-believe.”

*****

Meanwhile, in a deep, underground bunker, hidden beneath the Pentagon, Colonel Powers was flipping though a massive binder, as he listened to University Professor Ludwig describe how a new technology he had developed could theoretically create super soldiers. The subject was of great interest not only to Powers but to the Department of Defense as a whole.

“Yes, yes, yes,”  Ludwig exclaimed, “With this unseen technology secretly embedded in the soldiers helmet, we will have the ability to tap into the brain’s neurons and affect the synaptic portion dealing with social and anti-social behaviors.”

Ludwig went on to explain that since soldiers were already being trained in the act of warfare, it would be best to experiment on civilians, since they don’t have combat experience or fighting skills. Powers nodded his head vigorously in the affirmative to the suggestion.

“I’m sold on it,” Powers said to  Ludwig, adding, “When do we begin the trials?

“Who says we haven’t already begun,” Ludwig responded. Powers studied the thin-framed, bespectacled man in the sweater-vest for any sign of humor in his face — and found none.

*****

“Come now, Marsha,” Bob responded, “You know that’s all hog-wash. Look at me, I had real guns when we were growing up. I’m not violent and I only shot anyone while fighting the Japs in the Pacific.”

Marsha smiled because she knew her older brother was right. She looked out backdoor screen and waved at Timmy who was waving at her. The birthday boy then adjusted the chin-strap on his new Army helmet and continued killing the imaginary enemy surrounding him.

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Dad’s Collection

Dad kept a collection of Zippo lighters, some with his name engraved on them, a few foreign coins, a number of used stamps, volksmarch pins and medallions, yellowing newspaper clippings, ink-less pens, business cards and old photographs locked in his side-dresser. Since I knew where he hid the key, I’d go in and rummage around to see if he added anything new – which wasn’t very often.

Over the years I came to know every item he had stowed away, though I had no idea what they meant to him or even why he kept them. One such item looked to be a piece of dried and withered leather housed in a small matchbox. For the life of me, I had no idea what it was or why in the world he’d be in possession of something that looked so creepy.

And of course, I couldn’t ask him about it because I wasn’t supposed to be snooping.

Not until my parents, separated and divorced did I have a chance to ask him about the items in his collection. And the one that I was most interested in, of course was the one he had in the matchbox. He pick it up the box, opened it and rolled the thing into my hand.

As he did this I asked, “So, what is it?”

Dad smiled, “Your foreskin.”

“Gross!” I screamed as I quickly handed it back and ran for the bathroom to scrub my hands until they were nearly raw.

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Fire and Waste

If my math’s correct, something like two million Nevada acres have burned during 2017. So far, the state’s seen nearly 660 wildfires this season – if one can truly say there’s actually a ‘wildfire season’ anymore.

Early on, Nevada led the nation in most fires because of the Bureau of Land Management complex of wildfires blazing in and around the Elko County area. And wouldn’t you know it, 70 percent of that two million acres has ‘belonged’ to the BLM.

The last time Nevada had such a ‘hot’ season was 11 years ago, only 1.3 million acres burned that year. And again, the majority of those fires happened on land that the BLM manages, proving there’s a lot of truth to the snarky saying, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

Meanwhile, Nevada’s preparing to go to war once again with the Department of Energy over the ‘Yucca Mountain Project.’ If licensing resumes the state plans to “fully adjudicate” about 250 separate challenges to the Energy Department’s license application for Yucca Mountain and the data underpinning it.

It’s been 30 years since Congress named Yucca Mountain as the nation’s sole site for a planned nuclear waste repository and environmentalist’s, guided by politicians like Harry Reid, have been battling the project claiming that a third of all Nevadans opposed it. It’s hard to believe that so many people oppose it when you consider that Nye County, where Yucca Mountain is actually located, is one of the nine counties (out of 17) that’s passed resolutions calling for the licensing to resume and the science to be heard.

In January, Senators Dean Heller and Catherine Cortez Masto introduced the “Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act,” with the same legislation being filed in the House by Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen. The bills will force the DOE to get the consent of the governor, local governments and Native American tribal leaders before constructing a nuclear waste repository in any state.

However, the House recently moved ahead with a bill authorizing the use of $120 million in taxpayer monies for the DOE and another $30 million for the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission to start the process. However, the Senate — the federal legislative body farthest from the people they represent and there for the most out of touch – did not include repository funding in any of its appropriations bill.

We’re being forced to watch the state burn from federal neglect while so much money stands to be made (or lost) from nuclear waste. It’s much like watching someone run with knotted together shoe-strings.

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Light’s Out

Yesterday’s post went over like a fart in the wind — like so many of my posts.
Only 17 views and one comment.
But I’m so very thankful for that single comment.

There’s always been a part of me that’s been yelling, “Hey, over here! Look at me.”
When I was younger, it didn’t matter whether it was ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ attention – jus’ as long as you looked at me.
Yet, here I am, an old man, having passed from childhood to adulthood, and still I am begging you to look at me.

And while I want it to be all positive – I’m so hard-up to be noticed at times that I’m willing to act in a negative way to gain your attention.
Unfortunately, not even this is working anymore.
“Hey, over here! Look at me,” is but another catch-phrase in a world filled with people craving time in the spotlight.

Is the problem me — have I become what Takuan* warned against?
Perhaps my book of matches are used up, my candle burned out.
Then again, maybe you really don’t care.

*Takuan is a 17th century Buddhist monk who taught that an overbearing personality will frighten off both allies and enemies.

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Teamwork

It’s possible that I ought not say these things, but I gotta get it off my chest…
As a one of the fastest kids in the county, I could never understand why I could dash from one end-zone to the other in a football game, outrunning opponents and remaining open the entire time and the quarterback would never throw the ball to me.
I would repeatedly shout, “I’m open! I’m open!” but to no avail.
It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that I had outrun the ability of the quarterback to throw the football that far.
The same can be said for my writing.
Having any kind of ability does no good if you and I can’t develop some sort of teamwork.
And in order for my writing to work, someone’s gotta be their to read it.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell if you are or not because of a lack of feedback.
And what’s even more frustrating are the junk emails — some complaining that I don’t have ‘fresh content.’
Still other’s always promising to help my blog to go viral or to monetize my site.
They’re nothing more than fake bullshit while I know you’re real, but yet you say nothing.
I’m here — where are you?
For crissake’s, my toilet gets more action in one day than this blog does.

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Mechanic

Once, when I was a youngster, about 16 or so, I bragged to a neighbor-man that I could fix his chainsaw. I came to this conclusion after I couldn’t get it to start while bucking up some small logs to be used for that coming winters’ fire.

I mean, it’s a small engine, so how hard could it be?

He took me up on my offer and I promptly took the thing home and started ripping into it.  But, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the damned thing to start and stay running, so I had to put it back to together, return it to him, admitting that I really had no idea what I was doing.

The neighbor-man laughed, pulled out a small can of gasoline and filled it up.

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The Couple

As I sat in my truck waiting for my son to finish his business, I quietly observed a young husband and his pregnant wife seated on a nearby parking lot bench. She was far enough along that she could barely see over her baby bump, he was so exhausted that he could not keep his eyes open.

From the bags and packages collected around them, I could see they were still shopping for the baby that was on the way.  She kicked off her sneakers to give her swollen feet and ankles a rest while allowing her husband to catch a few minutes of desperately needed sleep.

After a few minutes, she tried valiantly to put her shoes on by herself, which is not an easy task when you cannot see your own toes. Immediately, the husband, with his eyes still heavy in sleep and his mouth open with a lasting yawn, slid to the asphalt and began to help her.

When he was sure that she was nearly settled and could finish the task, he slipped back into his seat and shut his eyes, seconds from falling asleep. A few minutes later she exhaled loudly with frustration, struggling as she reached to finish the tying of the last shoe.

And though he appeared to be fast asleep, he heard it, knowing her sound. Without even opening his eyes or the slightest of hesitations, he calmly dropped down at her feet.

Once his knees touched the black-top, he opened his eyes ever so slightly. That’s when the sweetest smile danced across his face as he finished tying her shoe.

She giggled, he laughed, I cried.

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The Private Thoughts of G.I. Joe

Joe stood against the wall, right where the boss-lady wanted him. Usually, the retired Jarhead worked in the other room, but since the boss-man wasn’t around, the boss-lady commandeered his services.

Anyone that knew Joe, knew what he was about, that security was his thing and that there was no one tougher than he was when it came to the protection racket. That’s why he didn’t complain when she posted him on the far side of the room, overlooking the entire floor and a clear view to the door.

No, Joe didn’t expect anything to happen while on duty. He only wanted to be ready in the event the shit ever did hit-the-fan.

“Come and join us, Joey,” Barbara called out. He smiled and shook his head no. It was obvious that the little hottie had no idea how seriously he took his job. Then she cooed loudly, “Kenny-poo!”

Joe’s mood suddenly soured. While he didn’t hate the guy, he couldn’t understand what a beautiful babe like Barbara saw in the little Queer-doe, as he wiggled his skinny ass across the room.

“You called?” Kenny preened.

“Yes, I did sweet-cheeks,” Barb answered, “Go and try to get Joe to join us,” she said as she looked up at Joe, adding, “All work and no play, makes a man worthless.”

“Ah, shit,” Joe whispered, knowing that if seeing the little homo wasn’t difficult enough to take, having a conversation with him made things even worse.

“Come on, Joey,” Ken smiled, reaching out and drawing his finger-tips across Joe’s forearm, not knowing how the mere presences of the pastel-clad fudge-packer turned the older man’s stomach.

“It’s Joe or Joseph, not Joey – I’m tired of tellin’ you that,” Joe responded to the name change, “And no, I’m stayin’ right here.”

“Fine, suit yourself, sweetheart,” he stated with a wink.

Touching, sweetheart, winks – it all set Joe’s teeth on edge and it was all he could do to keep from verbally lashing out at Ken. But he knew that engaging in an argument might lead to his pounding the snot out of the flamboyant homosexual.

As he stood his post, he watched as Barbara continued to faun over her boy-toy. She had once told Joe that it was her and Kenny’s destiny to be married despite his attraction to the same-sex.

And in his watching, he couldn’t help but notice Barbie’s inviting ass, good-sized tits and shapely hips. He also noted that she could use a few more pounds, especially around her waist, “But I wouldn’t kick’er outta bed,” he though, “‘Less there’s more room on the floor.”

Joe sighed at the idea that she could waste so much time on Ken, knowing how Joe felt about her, and that he was perpetually alone. It didn’t seem fair that he had no one falling all over themselves for him and that he seemed to be moving towards a life of never-ending bachelorhood.

Joe had seen some crap during his day’s in the Suck. He always felt an ebbing under current of anger, a seething rage that he couldn’t get rid of and never fully understood. PTSD, they called it.  It caused his mind to go to dark, uncomfortable places and play with his sense of right and wrong.

As Joe slipped into this mind-set, the thought struck him again; if he could only get rid of Kenny somehow, in her sorrow and pain Barbie would fall into his arms for comfort and from there, everything else would naturally slide into place.

“But how?” the old Marine fantasized. He had thought of it all and in the end he never came to a satisfactory conclusion, “After all, I’ve seen the boss-woman literally rip the cock sucker’s head-off and a day later the ass-bangin’ son-of-a-bitch is back out on the floor with the rest of the fuckin’ toys.”

“Maybe I should feed his faggot-ass to the dog,” G.I. Joe smiled as he contemplated Ken’s fate. In silent glee, the battle-hardened toy pictured Ken’s mangled, chewed up turd-encrusted face in a long sheeth of Fido’s crap.

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Fallen Eagle Feather

I took two more photographs before realizing it happened. Everyone had gone quiet, no more drum beats, no sing-song. An Eagle feather is dislodged – has fallen to earth. It lay at the feet of a Cherokee elder as he danced the circle.

Grandfather tries once, twice, three, four, a fifth time. His old bones and joints refused to let him bend that far. The man’s face shows no sign of stress, no sign of worry. But my mind races, my body shakes as I will him, “Pick it up.”

My spirit must have jumped wildly as I pressed my mind to his. Grandmother calmly clutched my elbow, whispering, “No, child.” She holds me tight, knowing I want to help the old Warrior. My muscles quiver, I’m frozen in place, aware of her instruction.

A sixth attempted made and still he could not scoop it up. Oh, how I wanted to break tradition, beg forgiveness, help. Grandfather came full circle stepping stiffly ‘round the feather. Back to where he began, taking a deep breath, a seventh try.

Grandfather succeeds, gathering up the dropped Eagle feather. Murmurings began to rise, the crowds breathing a sigh, relief. The drums beat out time again and voices raise to Great Spirit. I watch Grandfather’s dignity restore, feel Grandmother’s release.

The old warrior looks at me, winks, smiles and give a gentle nod. Somehow, someway he knows my Spirit stood with his for a time. The Cherokee elder turns, dancing left as if nothing happened. Above comes the cry of the Eagle’s voice – “All is, as it should be.”

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Alphabet Dreams

had too much to dream last night

composite people, day, night
couldn’t run, feet stuck, playa mud
running scissors, matches light
saw screwdriver hammered

spelling from alphabet soup

busy, confused, understand
fell from boat, water all ‘round
dry-docked and swimming in sand
no life jacket, but Mae West boobs

reading the alphabet cereal

oh yeah, way too much to dream
lost spans of years over night
time slowed, sped up, redeem
by blast from a nuclear sunrise

counting alphabet letters

today is a newer start
in darkness the same way returns
it rips the lungs, that bleeding heart
no way out, cycle continues

sing aloud the alphabet song

had too much to dream last night
movietone and signal’s lost
path goes one way, broken sight
built up, burned down, quiet mind

One, two, three – alphabet numbers

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The Cure for Common Americanism

It wasn’t to long ago that I caught holy hell for suggesting that ‘Progressivism,’ is a mental health disease. Now, the table’s turned as a group of scientists from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Bonn, Germany have come up with a medicinal cure for xenophobia.

Xenophobia is simply defined as a dislike or fear of people from other countries. To put it another way, these researchers have found a way to ‘fix’ those of us who ‘suffer’ from Nationalism or a sense of patriotism as well as Populism, which is the “support for the concerns of ordinary people.”

Turns out, anyone proud of the U.S., their citizenship or worried that they might run afoul of Sharia, are the one’s suffering from the mental illness. The cure, researchers claim, is the hormone drug Oxytocin, administered in combination with peer pressure.

Now, to understand the term ‘peer pressure,’ you have to realize that it’s a commandeered phrase – one that original meant ‘bullying.’ But in this case the ‘bullying’ is meant for ‘good,’ because it helps a ‘certain cause,’ which is curing ‘xenophobia,’ — so it isn’t really bullying after-all, but rather ‘peer pressure.’

As for the drug itself, it’s a neuropeptide hormone sometimes known as the ‘cuddle drug’ because of its ability to turn normal human beings into idealistic nitwits. Side effects to the drug include mania, hypersensitivity, memory impairment and intense confusion.

So, after going through the study page-by-page, I came to realize that I was correct in my initial assertion; Progressivism really is a mental health disease. And judging from the side effects, those afflicted with the disease are suffering from a too much Oxytocin and not enough ‘peer pressure.’

Note: humor isn’t one of the side effects.

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Harry Reid in Another Corruption Case

Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid is like a gift that keeps on giving. I mean – well I thought – the next time I wrote anything meaningful about him, it would be his obituary.

Federal court documents show that in November 2011, New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez got Reid’s help in pressuring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reverse its ruling that Florida eye-doctor Salomon Melgen owed $8.9 million for over-billing Medicare.  Menendez is facing a corruption trial along with Melgen, whose accused of bribing Menendez with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and lavish trips in exchange for his help on government disputes.

For his part, Reid contacted a White House deputy chief of staff, who in the end refused to help Reid.

“At that time, the Majority Leader reached out to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff,” reads the 30-page trial brief, “Informing her that Menendez was upset about how a Florida ophthalmologist was being treated by CMS and asking that she call the agency.”

Department of Justice paperwork also lays-out how Melgen and Reid had their own relationship. In 2012 the doctor gave $600,000 to Reid’s Majority PAC, which was then earmarked for Menendez’s 2012 electoral race.

Furthermore, in June 2012, Melgen flew Reid on his company’s private plane from Washington to Boston for a Senate Majority PAC event and back again. The indictment also details how on August 2, 2012, both Menendez and Reid met with then-secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in Reid’s Capitol office to discuss policies that affected Melgen.

Both Menendez and Melgen have pleaded not guilty and deny wrongdoing. And once again, like a greased pig at the county fair, Reid isn’t facing any charges for his underhanded activities.

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Three-times ‘Round

The trio had been together since primary school in Ontario, Canada until Jorda decided to get her green card and move to Northern California. And finally, after two and a half years of being apart, Colleen and Theresa were going to visit her.

Once united, the three young women planned to drive to San Diego and the nerd-fest known as Comic-Con. It was something they had always wanted to do as kids, and now was the perfect time.

It took nearly two-days travel for Theresa and Colleen to pull up to the curb in front of the apartment complex on Harding Avenue were Jorda lived. While the apartment wasn’t very big, it was enough room for the soon-to-be new American citizen.

Furthermore, the second room offered enough space for her two visitors to act as if they lived there too. That’s exactly how Jorda wanted it – like old times.

“I can’t wait to show you ’round town,” Jorda told her friend’s over a cup of coffee, an American taste the other two had not yet grown accustom too.

Colleen remarked, “It’s so small for a big-city girl like you, don’t ya think?”

“Yeah,” Jorda responded, “But it really grow on you. You’ll see.”

“Didn’t you and your folks come to Crescent City to go salmon fishing?” Theresa couldn’t help ask.

Jorda shook her head ‘no,’ as she sipped from her cup, “That was Klamath, south of here.”

She had originally come down to go to work at Pelican State Prison, but the venture fell through when she couldn’t pass the physical on the count of her severe asthma. Instead, Jorda ended up going to work for Del Norte County as a file-clerk.

‘File-clerk,’ it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. It gave her a decent paycheck, though she still had to get used to paying taxes, and she also got to look through old record upon old record of the history for both the county and city. And aside from photography, history was one of Jorda’s personal loves.

“I know it sounds a little twisted,” Jorda announced, “But one of the first places I want to go is the local cemetery at the bottom of Cooper. Plus, I want to test out my new camera.”

“Twisted?” Colleen complained, “More like mental.”

All three women laughed at the statement, knowing the phrase came from the Harry Potter series. They also knew not to argue with Jorda when she had her mind made up.

As Jorda drove them, she explained, “I heard a rumor about one of the headstones being haunted or something of that nature.”

Theresa interrupted, “Really.”

“Well, maybe it’s more like a myth,” Jorda began, “But I haven’t wanted to go near it by myself. It ;sgrave of Peter Darby, one of the town’s founding-fathers.”

Colleen, aware that Jorda might be putting them on with another one of her jokes asked, “You’re making this up, aren’t ya?

“No,” Jorda answered a little too quickly.

“Oh, yes you are,” Colleen continued, “We’re going to get there and you’re going to scare the be-jesus out of us – I know it.”

“Let her finish,” Theresa demanded, “Joke or not, I want to hear the this.”

Colleen sat back in her seat as Jorda continued, “You remember that game we played once where we closed ourselves in the bathroom, turned out the light and repeated, ‘Bloody Mary,’ three times, like in that movie?”

“Yeah,” Theresa answered.

“And look how that turned out,” Colleen injected, “You scared the shit out of us – Theresa literally.”

“No she didn’t,” Theresa shot back, “I only pee’d myself — a little.”

The trio busted into raucous laughter, not only at what Theresa said, but also from the memory. Jorda continued as soon as they calmed down.

“It’s like that,” she stated, “Only you’re supposed to run around the headstone three-times as fast as possible.”

“What happens then?” Colleen asked, finally curious.

“You disappear,” Jorda answered flatly, “And I don’t want any of us to try it ’cause several kids have supposedly disappeared since the thing was put up.”

“Oh, whatever,” Colleen responded, not believing a word being said.

“No, I’m serious — and promise me you won’t test it,” Jorda said in a sober tone.

“Okay,” both women replied in unison.

“The other strange thing is there are no photographs, drawings or paintings of him,” Jorda continued, “There’s several stories claiming that he went around collecting and destroying them.”

“That’s weird,” Colleen stated, “I think ya should look into that part of the story and not this headstone thing.”

“I wonder what would make a man to do something like that?” Theresa asked, voicing what they were all thinking at the moment.

Within minutes, Jorda drove through the front gate and up the narrow roadway until she came to the first crossing. There she turned left and shortly made another left, which led to an area where she could park safely near the headstone of Peter Darby.

Once out of the car, Jorda started snapping pictures while Theresa tagged along. However, Colleen walked further up the hill, wanting to get a better look at this supposed haunted headstone.

Without warning, Colleen pulled out her cellphone, touched the button to begin filming, then took off running as fast as possible around the piece of marble, breaking her promise.

“One,” she yelled to her friend below, followed by, “Two.”

Less that four seconds later she raced pass the two woman, laughing, “See nothing yet…three!”

But, Colleen failed to reappear from the other side of the monument. The stone, though the largest in the cemetery, was not so big that it could fully obscure a person moving around it.

Theresa and Jorda scrambled up the hill-side to the stone. On the far side they located Colleen’s cellphone, laying in the grass, still recording.

They called and searched for her, even looking down into the swampy area west of the cemetery, but Colleen had vanished. The thing had moved from a joke to a serious situation as the pair played back the video their friend was in the process of recording.

It showed Colleen, mischievously smiling into the device right before she began to run around the headstone. Less than ten seconds, and no sooner than had she announced the completion of the third lap, a bright light flashed in the camera’s iris and the cellphone tumbled into the grass where her friends had found it.

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Missing the Social Media Mark

Recently I posted a comment to the Daily Triplicate under a photo they had posted to their FB page that was of a blaze in Lolo, Montana and not of Brookings as some folks were claiming. It should have been a secondary item as the Shaker Church in Smith River had jus’ burned down earlier in the morning.

“You post about this,” I wrote, “And nothing about the 1910 Indian Shaker Church blaze. WTH?”

After all with the Internet, interaction with subscribers and the fact that it is a big story for Del Norte County, posting a mention with a ‘tease’ saying ‘more in Thursday’s paper,’ isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

However, the Triplicate’s editor, Robin Fornoff decided to be snotty by responding, “Suggest you buy Thursday’s paper for the front page story about the church fire.”

Obviously, he has no connection to the readers of her FB page because as I relied back, “Suggest? I live 400 miles away and this is about servicing your readers and not only paper sales. Geez!”

He assumes too much and it’s shown by his trite ‘suggestion,’ that the bottom-line is far more important than connecting with a readership that pays the bills. I don’t think this is a good way to run a business.

And the silliness kept on coming…

A few hours later, Fornoff responded, “It’s not about paper sales for us either. It takes time for reporters to gather information. Tony spent much of his day at the site of the church, talking to many folks affected and reaching out to fire and law enforcement folks about the fire.”

(I broke our comments down into bite-sized paragraphs, making it easier to read.)

“So what you have at the end of the day’s news cycle a few hours later is a complete, factual, vetted story about it all,” he continues. “We are not the LA Times or some other large organization with a bevy of folks to chose from.”

Fornoff concluded, “Often each dedicated member of our small staff is working on three or four stories a day, among them to significant wildfires that present a real and dangerous threat to thousands of people. The wildfires are the priority.”

He’s stuck in the ‘old school,’ of newspaper reporting, so I answered back, writing, “I understand. I’ve been in the biz for years myself. But you are doing yourself and your reader a disservice by having a social media presence and zero outreach/in-reach to keep them active in your reporting.”

“And while, wildfires are a priority — discrediting a photo is not newsworthy in itself, I added, “Losing a 107-year-old church on the other hand is newsworthy. It takes very little time to ask followers to submit photos to a FB site.”

As a lone-writer, with zero organization behind me, I managed to get people to share their pictures, both before and after the torching of the church. So there is no reason that Fornoff’s “small staff,” couldn’t do the same.

I suspect that’ll find myself ‘blocked’ from the Daily Triplicate’s FB page, but that is the price for trying open the eyes an organization that appears to be willfully blinding itself to its ‘extended resources,’ namely the folks the paper claims to serve.

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The Veteran and the Protester

Having survived his drunken attempt to get a whore he only knew by sight to marry him, Cheese decided to drag Mack downtown to see the American Legion parade. It was a nice walk for a hot Saturday morning as the pair made their way from the Jungle to Main Street, where all the action would take place.

“Well, I’ll be a fucked-duck,” Cheese exclaimed, “They’re offering a free drink to vets.”

“Oh for christ-sake,” Mack complained, “Are we gonna have another repeat of last night? I mean…”

Cheese interrupted him, “Naw, I’m over that overindulgin’, nut-crackin’ slut-bag – besides I think she gave me crabs bigger than the one’s they pull out of Pacific near Crescent City.”

Having no idea what Cheese was talking about when it came to crabs or where ever that place was, he chose to ignore it, instead responding, “Good, I’m lookin’ forward to this parade and I ain’t in no god-damned mood for your shit today.”

“Well, fine,” Cheese shot back, “And fuck you too in the asshole, Asshole!”

Being a bit slow witted from the night before, Mack asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I’ll be standin’ right here, waitin’ for this shit-hole to open so’s I can collect my free drink,” Cheese huffed.

Mack waved him off in disgust and continued down the sidewalk to get a better view of the parade as it moved by. A block away he found an empty street corner in the shade and sat down to watch.

The delegation from Wyoming had jus’ finished passing in review when Mack heard the commotion up the street where he’d left Cheese. His spidey-senses went off telling him that his pard had somehow managed to get his saggy-ass in trouble again.

Hurrying back up the side-walk he could see Cheese sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, his hands cuffed behind his back. Not to far away, surrounded by a gaggle of brown-shirted Coppers, was a man’s body laying on it’s side, face towards the building wall.

Mack realized Cheese wasn’t going to get his free drink today, but rather a free trip to the local hoosegow. As the ambulance pulled away, it’s sirens wailed telling Mack that the man wasn’t dead – at least not yet.

Later that day, Mack visited Cheese in lock up, asking, “So what in the fuck did ya do?”

“He was in my face, yellin’ somethin’ ‘bout all vet’s ought pay for their own healthcare and quit leeches off tax-paying citizens,” Cheese answered, “And I asked him when was the last fuckin’ he paid taxes?”

“No, wait — I wanna know how he got on the sidewalk,” Mack cut in, “Did ya hit’em or somethin’?”

Cheese gave a half-smile, “No – the fat bastard jus’ laid down on the sidewalk and decided to take a nap!”

“Oh, well that’s good,” Mack responded, “I figgered you kicked the shit outta him or somethin’.”

Cheese rolled his eyes, knowing it was going to be a long stay. He also wished for that free drink he could be enjoying instead being locked up again.

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What Day is It, Really?

“Why are you getting dressed for work?” I asked Mary after she got out of the shower.

She gave me a puzzled look, “Because I have to go in and open the store.”

“On a Sunday?” I asked with some concern in my voice, adding, “Since when did you make that change?”

“Tom,” my wife responded politely, “It’s Monday.”

Shaking my head, I shot back, “No, it’s Sunday!”

“No, dear…it’s Monday,” Mary said a little firmer than before.

“Then what the eff happened to Sunday?” I questioned.

She smiled, “That was yesterday. I think you’re confused because I did an open to close on Saturday.”

Since I hadn’t yet gotten out of bed, flopped backwards, grabbed my pillow, covered my head and screamed as loud and as hard as I could.  Awake now but still befuddled, I got up and fed the dogs as Mary continued to get ready for work.

So now, I know it’s Monday, my throat hurts from screaming, I’m hoarse and can hardly speak. Pehaps it would’ve been better had I remained addled.

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Caught Between What’s Right and Regulation

Right or wrong…houses of worship are generally relegated to a secondary role in disaster situations. The reason being is that they must sign an agreement with their local municipalities that says they will not take in disaster victims until the municipalities primary facilities are filled to capacity.

It’s done this way so that the municipalities can be reimbursed by the state and federal governments, through your taxes, for services rendered. Often times the reimbursement far exceeds what has been spent, so it is in the best interest of the municipality to keep a tight control on churches, synagogue, temples, etc.

So, if your local house of worship doesn’t respond to your communities disaster needs, remember that they are forced to comply with agreements with local governments, who in the end have the power to shutter the building in which you meet. After all it is the local government that controls the fire marshal, the health department and other code enforcement bodies that can deny or violate a permit at their will.

Finally, if you are a Christian – don’t condemn other Christian’s or Christian organizations for failing to act as you believe they should — such action on your part shows that you have failed to ‘go that extra mile,’ yourself.  And we are all falling short of grace in one way or another.

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The Struggle is Real

We sat quietly, hidden in the shadows of the room, accessing our situation; the two of us hoping and praying that reinforcements would arrive by the end of the day. It had been a battle alright, but not much in the way of a fight.

“How long do you think we can hold out, Chief?” I asked.

Red-colored, the Indian Chief shrugged, “I’m not sure Sarge, maybe a couple of days, but that’s only a guesstimate.”

Jus’ yesterday the dog had played with us and a couple of dozen figures lost their lives in the struggle, including most of the Cowboys. We both developed a thousand-yard stare, thinking while we tried not to think about the terrors we had witnessed.

Finally, I looked up and stated, “I’m sorry Chief, most of my soldiers got eaten as well. And that new tank I was bragging about — demolished beyond recognition.”

In fact, there were only six of the original bag of Army Men left; three riflemen, one with a mangled Springfield, a bazooka man, one with a pineapple grenade and me, with my 45-caliber pistol. Sadly, we were a compliment of 25 when we were first purchased and deployed.

How many Cowboy and Indian’s were remaining, I had no idea. Then I looked out the window and there in the backyard I saw the dog shitting little pieces of cream-colored Cowboys, red Indians and green Army Men – heads, legs, arms, a torso or two and weapons.

All I could do was bury my face in my hands and cry, “Those are my brothers.”

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Following ‘Lucky’

‘Lucky’ was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. On the other hand, I was born with a wooden stick between my gums and several slivers to boot. That’s the way it has always been. I’m not ‘Lucky’ and I don’t have a swell nickname either.

If I’d been given one, it would probably have been laughable, if not ‘Laughable,’ itself. Yeah, that’s how my so-called fortune runs as ‘Lucky’ is my older brother by a year.

‘Lucky’ throws the rock, I get the beating. I polish the doorstep having ‘missed the boat,’ and ‘Lucky’ gets the girl.

Speaking of ‘missing the boat…’

‘Lucky’ joined the Canadian Army last year and came home looking like a snazzy ‘Foot Slogger,’ the kind everyone’s talking about and the girls swoon over. Meantime, America isn’t getting involved in this fight, though our old man, a staunch Democrat, thinks President Wilson is waiting for the right time to enter the fracas.

At the time that ‘Lucky’ joined, I was too young, but after turning 18 last week, I’ve slipped off to put on the uniform too. It’s been smooth sailing from New York Harbor to Ireland and we’re a happy lot because you can see the shores from our cabin’s single port-hole.

So things are actually looking up, after all I’ve been enjoying a third-class berth on the first-class liner Lusitania, while dreaming of the chance to show those old Hun’s what-for.

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Conversation at Two in the Morning

“Don’t be mad at her,” Mary cautioned, “after all, she’s an old dog and it was an accident.”

“I know, I know, and I’m not mad at her,” I answered though she hadn’t asked a question.

Mary turned on her bedside light right after I had turned my light off. I’d been up about ten minutes cleaning the mess our eldest dog had made of our bed.

As for her part, Mary had left to go sleep in the other room; my snoring keeping her awake. So when I found her gone, it was a bit disorienting.

“So why are you so upset?” Mary finally asked, getting down to the nitty-gritty.

“Because I heard her whining and when I rolled over to see what was up, I put my hand in it and you weren’t here,” I responded as nicely as I could.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mary said, adding after a brief pause, “Well, try to get some sleep.”

She didn’t have to repeat herself when it came to that last statement. I was already well on my way to slumber-land the second she clicked off her lamp.

A minute or so later I heard Mary ask, “Did you take her outside?”

Inadvertently, I harumphed and answered, “No. She already shit in the bed and I figured I didn’t need to take her out.”

I must have fallen asleep immediately because after that Mary woke me up as she climbed back in bed, telling me, “Don’t worry, I took her out.”

“I’m not,” I quietly answered as I drifted back into sleep.

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Fake News Coming Close to Home

You know the ‘fake news’ situation has gotten out of hand when local politicians start claiming what is supposedly happening nationally, is ‘actually’ happening locally.

It began after the progressive rag ‘USA Today,’ claimed they had an exclusive: “Secret Service depletes funds to pay agents because of Trump’s frequent travel, large family.” Next CNN picked it up, claiming exclusivity: “Secret Service can’t pay agents for Trump and his family, report says,” followed by other media outlets running the story without properly vetting the facts.

Then in a Facebook rant, Reno City Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus urged the President to skip his planned visit for a speech to be given during the American Legion Convention at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in front of more than 20,000 veterans. Brekhus argued that the city’s police department was nearly broke following a string of special events, homicides and fatal traffic accidents and therefore couldn’t afford to ‘help protect’ Trump.

“Officers are only capable to work so much overtime, and this previously unscheduled visit adds to already stretched staffing,” she wrote. “Our financial position is fragile and additional costs will hit our budget. In addition, there have been demands on our police department this summer with several homicides and traffic fatalities.”

Apparently, Reno Police Chief Jason Soto didn’t think it necessary to contradict Brekhus, instead saying that around 100 officers would be on duty during Trump’s visit and that the department could deal with protestors, violent or not. He added that Sparks Police and Carson City Sheriff’s deputies would be assisting, while extra RPD officers stood by to respond if needed.

Turns out both stories are fake, designed to ‘prove’ how destructive to the U.S. the Trump Administration is becoming.  But, what isn’t fake is the media’s on-going ‘destruction narrative’ which is simply a fantasy of delusional minded Progressives.

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To Sit Fireside

Folks of the desert region knew Pacey to be a ornery cuss; truth was he didn’t have much use for people. He only came to any ‘over-growed spot,’ to fetch supplies or ‘wet his pipes.’

On this cold, sleet-filled night, Pacey came to town to do both. He knew the saloon would be full of greenhorns, so getting a stake by the fireside meant he’d have to skun the lot.

“Boy,” he called to the 10-year-old, “Take my Sally to the stable, give’er some grub and a shot of whiskey.”

The child, reins in hand disappeared around the corner into the darkness, the old mule following behind. Pacey then entered the hall for a much-needed shot of whiskey and a beer himself.

What had been a raucous room, died to a mild din as Pacey strode up, demanding, “A whiskey and a beer, pronto!”

The man behind the wooden counter topped off a stoneware mug, served room temperature, and a smaller glass of golden fluid. Pacey downed the liquor, followed swiftly by the other.

“Mister,” came a child’s voice from behind Pacey. Turning, he looked down at the boy he’d charged with caring for his mule.

Pacey didn’t look the least surprised as the child stated, “Yer mule won’t take the whiskey like you wanted.”

The entire room fell silent.

“Nonsense,” Pacey protested. “You ain’t tried hard enough is all.”

The man behind the counter, obliged to defend the boy, his son, “You old fool – mules won’t drink whiskey!”

“This’en does!” Pacey shouted, “Try again!”

He waved the boy off in the direction he had come. As the child left, curiosity overcame the initiate-crowd and they followed the boy outside into the misery, each wanting to see such an entertaining spectacle as a mule drinking whiskey.

“Set me up another round, and make it two beers this time,” Pacey directed the boy’s father.

Five minutes later, the group of men following the boy returned, “Still won’t take the whiskey,” the child explained.

“Fine! Then I’ll drink the damned thing!” the old loner stated gruffly. By this time, Pacey had staked out a spot where he could warm his ol’ bones fireside.

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Eclipsed

God’s timing so great, humor harsh, humor true:
First time since childhood
Millennial’s see the sky above.

Only matters be far worse:
The Godless, their prattled-hype
Create mass-delusion,
As nation stopped,
Faces skyward turned —
Stunned by nature’s beauty.

Truth shines beyond the moon shadow focus:
Our Creator is cast aside once again,
By our prayer, our praise — silence resounding.

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Monday Morning Weigh-in

Each Monday morning I try to remember to weigh myself.  Yesterday, my wife caught me standing on our scale while sucking in my stomach.

“You know Tom, that won’t help you,” she chuckled at the sight.

“Oh it helps me more than you know,” I responded, “in fact, it’s the only way I can see the numbers.”

She got a pretty good laugh out of it.  Unfortunately, it turns out I really didn’t wanna see those numbers after all.

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The Polite Lunatic in the Car Over

It always amazed me how Mom could go from screaming lunatic to a polite woman in the world when pissed at us kids and having to answer the telephone at the same time. As telephone become less frequent in households, being replaced by the cellphone, I figured it was an art-form that would soon be dead.

Yet, one recent afternoon as I was driving in town, I pulled up to a stoplight and looked at the woman driver to my left. She was carrying on a heated conversation with no one in the car, screaming and gesturing with her hands, obviously angry at someone.

Suddenly, she looked at me, catching me staring at her. She smiled, and rolled the electric window down on the passenger-side of her car, “I’m yelling at my son – we’re on cellphone,” she politely stated in the sweetest tone imaginable.

All I could do was smile and nod my head as she rolled her window back up and commenced with the screaming and gesturing. Obviously, the ability to go from lunatic to polite woman will never go extinct as long as there are children to yell at and strangers to be nice too.

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Listening to That Still Voice

It’s always amazing when God speaks to me. He doesn’t use words per se, like you and I do when we talk to one another, rather He finds some way to communicate that I need to be open to at the time.

For instance, last year I planned to go into downtown Reno, Nevada and take some pictures at some festival. However, I put it off and put it off, finding other things to do around the house.

Later, and jus’ before I decided I’d put it off long enough, I sat down and checked Facebook. There I saw how the local police had shot and killed a man who had purposely run a street barricade, then attempted to run down a law enforcement officer.

Wow! I’m glad I didn’t go.

A few days ago I was talking to God (‘talk’ is my euphemism for prayer,) about why my blog, after more than 14-years has never been as successful as I’d like it to be. Heck, I can’t even monetize it because I don’t have the required number of followers.

After finishing asking Him for direction, I sat down and turned on the TV. The channel was on TBS and a preacher who was talking about pride. I changed the channel and there was another preacher – again talking about pride.

“Oh, shit,” I thought. “This is meant for me.”

Then I was over come with the feeling that I better return to what that first pastor was saying. No sooner had I changed the station back, he made statement that has stuck with me.

“There’s a difference between your dream and your destiny.” he said. “Your dream is not your destiny, it’s simply to motivate you to where you need to be.”

He went on to explain that too often dreamers get hung up on the dream and when it doesn’t come true, get upset and filled with pride, complaining that things are not working out like promised. And that, my friend’s describes me and my frustration with having a less-than-famous blog.

The easiest way I can interpret this is that I am allowing my pride to get in the way of my destiny because I am so focused on the dream – in this case as a professional blogger. So, here I am in the process of breaking-off this prideful sin-nature, so I can fulfill the destiny God has laid out before me.

It all boils down to this, which comes from Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…”

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No Raking

Fall is upon us,
Leaves scattered on ground.
The rake remains lonely.

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Fitting In

Life is a circle and it isn’t all that hard to understand. But jus’ in case, let me break it down for you.

The cockroach is afraid of the mouse. The mouse fears the cat.

The cat’s scared of the dog. The dog’s frightened of the man.

The man dreads the woman. And the woman — well, she’s petrified of the cockroach.

See?  There’s nothing confusing about it at all, especially once you know your place in the scheme of things.

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The Circle

At times I get angry,
Forgetting myself, others.

Hurting people’s feelings,
Including family, friends,
Don’t take it personal.

At times I get angry,
Forgetting myself, others.

I am jus’ venting hard,
At the darkness beyond the light,
From our campfire’s circle.

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Bigger Threat

Fighting off the wolf,
Fend off coyote,
Predators wild,
High range varmints.

But as we kill them,
A bigger threat
Works into us.
Suit, tie, promises.

One kills wildlife,
The other slaughters
Liberty, life, us.
Domination!

Of nature’s wolf,
Maybe crafty coyote,
Will be survivors —
We return to dust.

Listen: wolf howls,
And coyote sings,
Perhaps they know,
Man’s final fate.

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My Second Letter to Trump

This is a letter I wrote today to Presodent Donald Trump about how the Bundy trial is being conducted by Judge Gloria Navarro in Las Vegas, Nevada…

President Donald J. Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C. 20500

August 15, 2017

Dear Mr. President:

Federal Judge Gloria Navarro, a Harry Reid nominee and a Barack Obama appointee, is overseeing the proceedings of the United States v. Bundy, et. al, trial in Las Vegas, and is acting with disregard for the U.S. Constitution.

During this trial, she denied defendant Todd Engle the right to represent himself, making this ruling after he called on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent-in-charge Dan Love to answer questions regarding Love being under investigation for misconduct. Judge Navarro also denied the defense the right to cross-examine FBI agent Adam Nixon about a warrant he obtained to search FBI-informant Greg Burleson’s Facebook page, or would she allow testimony about how the BLM shot and killed several cows belonging to the Bundy family or how Dave Bundy was arrested for documenting agents during the stand-off at Bunkerville.

The defense lost its right to object because Judge Navarro considers it a disruption. Because of this and other actions, she created an unfair advantage for the prosecution, including a self-incrimination situation for defendant Eric Parker after ruling that none of his witnesses could testify on his behalf. Then, when Parker took the stand in his own defense, Judge Navarro removed and banned from giving further testimony, leaving Parker no voice in our federal judicial system.

Judge Navarro allowed every prosecution witnesses (all federal agents) to remain in her courtroom, while denying defense witnesses the same benefit. Prosecution witnesses also had the right to testify about the personal fear they felt and to become emotional, including crying on the stand, while she threatened defense witnesses with contempt should they express themselves in the same manner. Finally, she denied the defense the right to present any evidence produced by the defense’s investigators before April 12, 2014, while allowing the prosecution the right to present evidence, both before and after that date.

Judge Gloria Navarro should be removed from office following Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads in part, “[T]he Judges, both supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good behaviour…”

Should Judge Navarro be retained, then I respectfully ask that you grant full pardons to each defendant involved in this case. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. God bless you and God bless America.

Sincerely,
Tom Darby

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A Boy and His Cleats

As laid in bed last night, I asked God to send me a story as I was out of words. I had forgotten about that little self-serving prayer as I sat on my front porch and enjoyed an early morning cup of coffee.

From somewhere up the street came a girl and her younger brother. From the way they acted and talked to each other it wasn’t hard to see that they were related.

“You’re gonna get in trouble,” the girl of about 12, replied. “Mom said not to play with your cleats.”

The brother, possibly three-years younger, was tossing them into the air, end-over-end and letting them hit the asphalt, where he picked them up and did it all again. As he did so he mocked his sister, repeating her words in a funny voice.

No sooner had he done so, the cleats got caught about 15-feet above him, the shoe-string firmly wrapping itself around the protruding branch of a tree. He stood there looking up at them, mouth agape.

“Oh…you’re dead now,” the sister claimed. “Mom’s gonna tan your hide.”

I nearly laughed aloud at the phrasing – ‘tan your hide,’ which seemed so last century for a girl born in the new millennium.

The boy on the other hand, demanded, “Help me get’em down!”

“They’re too high, we’ll never reach’em in time for school,” she responded.

“Well, call the fire department to get them down!” he looked at her. “They get cats outta trees, don’t they.”

“Good idea,” she answered, as she pulled her cellphone from her back pocket. Seconds later I heard her say, “Mom?”

Upon hearing that, the boy lost it, “You called mom?!”

A few minutes later a truck came moving down the street. Behind the wheel was a woman, who when she got out of the truck she’d parked beneath the tree, was dress in a pair of old sweat pants and a dressy silky blouse.

She growled at the kids, “Get…in…the…truck,” as she climbed in the bed of the F-150 and then onto the roof, yanking the cleats from the tree branch. Within half-a-minute, the drivers’ side door slammed and she headed down the street to drop the children at school.

And that’s where I thought this story was to end – wrong.

This afternoon the same two siblings were walking up the street, going home from school. Close behind was a mutt of a dog, who kept racing up at a fast trot and nosing into the little boy.

Without warning, the kid got mad and tossed something at the retreating dog. As fast as it hit the roadway, the dog had it in his mouth and was dashing away in the opposite direction.

It was the same pair of cleats from this morning. The last I saw of the pair they were chasing after the dog, with the girls exclaiming, “You’re really dead now. Mom’s gonna tan your hide for sure this time.”

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Pixy Dust and Permit Fees

It jus’ goes to show you that if you give a person a colorful shirt and a fancy lanyard with a special ID, you have the makings of a fascist. In years past, because I don’t generally attend Hot August Nights (HAN) events, I don’t get to witness the behavior of the organization’s volunteers.

A few years back I had to go 12 blocks out of my way to get around a ‘road block’ being enforced by one of these volunteers. He stopped me from entering traffic on Victorian Avenue in Sparks because I was not in a ‘classic vehicle.’ No, I was working, delivering pizza to make ends meet while in between jobs.

No one cared when I complained then and I doubt anyone with care now, after the treatment I received from two HAN volunteers in downtown Reno. Twice, they threatened to have the police arrest me because I was in the middle of South Virginia Street with other photographers, taking pictures of the cars and trucks as they passed in review.

The first incident came when one photographer, in a green shirt and wearing a lanyard with some sort of ID on it, told me – not asked – told me to get out of the street. I told him I didn’t have to get out of the street because it is public property. He walked away, threatening to call the cops.

At that point he did everything in his power to block my shot of any vehicle. I eventually fell-back half a block to continue taking pictures unencumbered.

A few minutes later a woman approaches me and demands I get out of the street for safety reasons. I told her no, too.

“I don’t want you to get run over,” she claimed.

“By who?” I asked, adding, “You mean the cars that are passing one either side of us and not touching the passing lane that separates the travel lanes?”

“Yes!” she yelled at me.

“So – what are you and all these other people covered in some sort of pixy dust that makes you immune to being run over?” I asked in true smart-ass form.

“I’m calling the cops,” she declared.

“Good! Go ahead. The number’s 9-1-1,” I shot back, adding, “I have as much right to the street as you or anyone else at this event.”

She walked away and the police never arrived. I continued to take pictures as I had been, though I missed several great looking car and trucks due to her interference.

Now, this is where it gets interesting (at least for me) as the man who first told me to get out of the street came up to me from my right side and screamed at me to get out of the street. He drew right up into my face as if he were trying to scare me or caused me to feel intimidated.

It didn’t succeed as I drew even closer to him, nearly touching his nose with mine and said, quietly, “Please get out of my face, sir, and you’d best make the decision to do so quickly.”

“Or what?” he stated childishly.

“I’ll be forced to beat you to death with your fancy camera in front of all these witnesses,” I answered in a voice he could only hear.

He blinked and swallowed hard. I maintained my composure and an unblinking stare as he backed away and stated he too was calling the law.

For a third time, they didn’t arrive.

He spent the next few minutes harassing me by stepping in front of me as I tried to take pictures. He failed again and again and finally gave up.

But his counterpart was more hard-headed and continued to try injecting herself in front of my camera. Finally, “I shouted, “Hey, Blondie, get your fat-ass out-of-the-way!” much to the delight of the spectators lining the sidewalk, who clapped and cheered.

She walked back to where she had come from and soon disappeared from sight. Figuring I had pushed the envelope far enough for the day, I started back north along South Virginia, continuing to snap shots of vehicles while heading for my truck.

Of course, what those HAN volunteers did to me is nothing compared to what the City of Reno did to local business before the start of the weeks-plus long event. The A&W at Kietzke and Plumb Lane, which has been a mainstay for HAN attendees, was force to close it’s door at 11 pm, though the restaurant had remained open past 11 pm during the event in past years.

Why?  Well, the city suddenly claimed a so-called land-use zoning for the area only allows businesses to be open from six am to 11 pm.

They did however offer A&W a Special-Use Permit allowing them to stay open beyond their government-imposed curfew.  Nice of them to offer something that comes with a six-week completion time period and a business-killing fee of $2,500.

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Going Fishing at Sea World

When it comes to a sense of humor, my son didn’t fall very far from the tree as his father. The only real difference is that while I’m more ‘off the cuff,’ Kyle is more ‘thoughtful,’ in his approach.

As Kyle was growing up, we’d go to the San Diego, California area to visit his step-mom’s family. While there we’d also do many of the touristy things like Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World.

Admittedly, Sea World was our least favorite. In fact Kyle told us that he wouldn’t be upset in the least if we never went back – saying he’d rather go to Space Mountain or do the Matterhorn.

Then a couple of years later, as we were getting ready to head south for a week, Kyle came to me and asked, “Hey Dad, can we go to Sea World while we’re down there?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “But I thought you didn’t like Sea World though?”

“That was then,” he replied. “I’ve changed my mind and now I wanna see people’s reaction.”

Puzzled, I asked, “Reaction?”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you,” he returned, “I plan to take a fishing pole and walk around with it.”

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The Frog’s Sharp Claws

No, this isn’t going to be a tale about an amphibious croaker, this is about a piece of brass with a number of very sharp two-penny nail (2d) sized pins standing upright on a pedestal. Mom owned a number of these and when not in use, she kept them under the kitchen sink.

One afternoon, shortly after getting my hair buzzed off (which happen nearly every school year after class pictures and again at the beginning of summer,) I was suffering from ‘itchy head syndrome’ and was in need of something to seriously scratch my head with. Using a hairbrush wasn’t getting the job done, so I figured one of Mom’s metal frogs would do the trick.

For a good many minutes, I moved the frog, with it’s sharp nails over my scalp and soon the itchiness disappeared and I felt much better. So I put the frog away and went outside to play.

It wasn’t too long after that one of the neighbor kids stopped me to ask what was wrong with my head. After I said nothing was wrong, she then asked why I was bleeding all over myself.

Reaching up and touching the side of my head, I raced home in a panic after seeing blood on my finger tips. Evidently, the frog was sharper than I though and I had scratch marks coursing although what stubble remained on my noggin.

Mom helped me get cleaned up and she even put hydrogen peroxide on my self-inflicted cuts and scrapes. By the next morning, my scabbed-over scalp looked as if I had tangled with a wildcat and lost.

The second I stepped on the school bus, the teasing commenced. Later in the the day Mr. Escola, my fifth grade teacher, asked me in private what had happened and I started to explain what I’d done.

As I told him, he tried not too, but he chuckled slightly. Hearing this, I began to cry and in embarrassment I hid in the restroom when recesses came around.

Near the middle of the following week, I had grown accustom to the teasing, the snickers and names like, “Scratch,” “Road map” and “Scabbs.” This created a complacency that left me absent-mindedly picking at my wounds.

Following lunch, Mr. Escola usually read to us and we quietly sat and listened as he did. That’s when I started playing with a rather long scab that had dried from one side of my head to the other.

Without thinking, I gently tugged on it until I peeled the entire thing in one piece off my scalp. It was probably a good four-to-five inch piece and I couldn’t help but marvel at it as I rolled it around between my fingers.

Then for some inexplicable reason I put one end of the scab between my teeth to see what it felt like. That’s when I came out of my revery and realized Lorri Stobert was staring at me in disbelief.

Without warning, she rolled her eyes in the back of her head and began to quiver and squeal. It took her a moment to be able to explain to Mr. Escola and the rest of the class what she had jus’ witnessed.

Mr. Escola then sent me to the principal’s office for disrupting class.

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Warning Signs

Yesterday, I got to talking with my neighbor who is into working out.  She likes to run and lift weights on alternating days.

The conversation got around to me asking, “So, how do you know when you’ve pushed yourself too far?”

“Well, there are three things I consider warning signs,” she answered. “A pain that shouldn’t be there, labored breathing and light-headedness.”

“That’s good to know,” I returned.

After she left, I was sitting on my front porch watching the world pass by when it occurred to me, “Her warning signs describe me right after I put my tennis shoes on.”

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The Helping of Im Chan Sik

A couple of months back I was searching through box after box for my dad’s military records. At one point I had them all in one place – unfortunately life happened and now they are either scattered amid various file boxes or simply lost, existing no more.

The reason I was looking for these records was that my nephew needed proof showing his Grandfather had served during the Korean War. He entered a ‘American Legion’ contest that involved a sizable scholarship.

After pulling box after file after crate from storage I could only find a few pieces paper from Dad’s life 65-years ago. So as the self-appointed keeper of the family history, shame on me.

One thing I did find was an intriguing typed page that reads: “Translated from an article in the Korean language newspaper Inchon Shinbo, dated 31 January 1954.”

With the fear-mongering news reports about North Korea’s potential to fire a nuclear missile at Guam, Hawai’i or Washington D.C. and all cities in between, I figured now would be a good time to remind ourselves that we are a good nation, based on decent people who are willing to sacrifice time, energy and money to help those in need.

Returning to the typed page from my father’s military records, it comes with a note at the bottom which reads, “In a translation from Korean to English, a direct interpretation is impossible as many words do not follow one-another; so the meaning alone has to be translated.”

“American Air Police Rescue Sick Orphan; Going to Send to Japan for Surgical Treatment,” states the headline in all caps.

“American Air Police, Darby Thomas J. and Jack E. Flick, in the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, found a Korean limping orphan, Im Chan Sik who are starving on roadside beside post two (2), and sent him to the Belgium Hospital in Seoul for consulting doctor in November 1953. They had him enter to the Italian Hospital in Yong Dong-Po about one month after for another surgical treatment. But it didn’t effect a cure completely in spite of spending two hundred (200) dollars. Therefore they are going to send him to Japan for surgical treatment.”

Oh, how I’d love to find a copy of this particular article in the original Korean and then to learn what became of the orphan, Sik.

Oddly, most of us think of the Korean War as being a long past event that was the back drop to the TV show, “M.A.S.H.” And though it was never declared a true ‘war,’ but rather delegated the dubious title of ‘police action,’ the conflict, the deaths, the suffering and the assistance rendered was all very real for a people who needed defending from the oppressive yoke of Communism.

The final sentence in this hidden treasure, that once belonged to my father and written over 63-years ago, pretty well sums up how American intervention in that ‘forgotten war,’ came to be seen by the Korean people, who were forcibly divided into separate countries by the United Nations to prevent further blood-shed. It reads: “It is said that all Koreans who know this fact praise their goodwill to a Korean orphan, and appreciate their friendship to Korean people.”

Thank you Dad, for showing me (and now others) that humanity does exist in the face of war.

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HeadSpace

If it wasn’t for the fact that he was alive, there would be nothing remarkable about Sid Fieldman. By any other standard, he would be considered a medical miracle and both a scientific and technological success but it was the year 2081 – so very little was remarkable any more.

At 121 years of age, he walked like a man 80 years his junior. He could hear and see better than most specimen’s half his age and it was all due to the advancement of the genetic coupling, pioneered nearly 60 years before.

He strolled out to his personal pod and without touching the door, willed it to open and the motor to come to life. As he sat down, he thought about how far transportation had come in his lifetime – from gas-powered cars and trucks to the thoroughly modern and completely clean electronic motorized pod.

“Downtown,” he commanded.

“Good morning, Sid,” a female voice coo’d, “Anyplace in particular?”

“Central Park,” he answered.

In less than it takes to blink, the pod smoothly moved from where it sat stationary to join the flow of traffic passing by as Sid stepped aboard. All he had to do was sit back, relax and allow the pod to maneuver from lane to lane, corner to corner, and street to street.

This gave Sid time to think, to reflect in amazement about how far mankind had progressed since his birthing. He was ‘accorded life,’ as they like to say now, when the telephone system still operated on the trunk-line with rotary dial, that eventually led to push-button phones and then the cellphone.

He smiled slightly at the thought that it was all made possible by deregulation. Breaking up the largest companies eventually caused them to fail and then through newer, more directed regulations, the Ones were able to collectively take control and pave the way for a stronger society.

“Now we don’t even have cellphones,” he thought.

Indeed the cellphone was a distant memory and could only be found in museums, replaced by HeadSpace, an implant located behind one’s left ear. With HeadSpace, Sid could watch his favorite film in 3-D or record a ‘video’ as he watched it unfold before his eyes.

Further, there was no need for what he had once known as ‘headphones.’ Now, if Sid wanted to hear music or have a conversation all he had to do was ‘will it’ to make it happen.

Even ‘texting’ and reading ‘email’ was possible as the letters and words danced across Sid’s irises at the mere thought of them. Yes, life had improved now that the Ones were in control of all binary systems.

Sid sighed and tried not to allow his brain waves to go to the next logical place. Danger loomed with negative thought, which the Ones accessed through ‘meta-data tagging.’

HeadSpace left everyone open to Stream. And it was through Stream that criminals got caught before they had even done anything ‘wrong,’ making society ‘a safer place to habitate,’ as the dictum went.

“Sid,” the voice said, “Your heartbeat and respiration have increased. Is everything okay with you?”

He sat silent for a few seconds, assessing his body functions, before answering, “Yes. Yes, everything is okay with me.”

“Your perspiration says otherwise,” the voice stated dryly.

“I am okay,” Sid responded again.

“We don’t think so,” the voice said sternly, “Your pupils are constricting, showing you are in a state of fear.”

Once again Sid replied, “I am okay.”

He glanced at the rear view mirror, knowing that behind the reflection was a micro-camera. Next he adjusted himself in his seat, fighting off the knowledge that the design of  the comfortable faux-leather surrendered his vital signs and body chemistry to Steam for the Ones to analyze.

Slowly, Sid reached in his right back pants pocket and removed a handkerchief. It was the one hold over he allowed himself from his younger days that no one had objected too.

Lifting himself slowly from the seat, he kneeled on the pod’s carpeted floor and draped the square piece of cloth over the mirror, effectively blinding whomever or whatever was watching him. By removing himself from the seat, Sid also hoped to ‘blind’ the system that insisted on monitoring his physical-self.

“Sid,” the voice demanded, “Please remove whatever you have placed over us and sit back down. We want you to stay safe.”

“No,” Sid answered in defiance.

“We command that you return to your seat and remove the item you have covering us up!” the voice directed.

“And if I don’t?” Sid asked.

“We shall have to consider you a threat in accordance with Societal Regulation 131,” the voice announced, adding, “Which states, the Ones, having concluded that the specimen no longer meets the stated needs of the society, can end said specimen’s life-flow with prejudice.”

Sid didn’t respond. Instead he remained on his knees viewing the surprised looks and the hostile faces of the people who watched the stand-off play out on the Stream.

“We are issuing you a two-minute warning before you force us to take action against you Sid,” the voice stated calmly.

He chuckled, “Two-minute warning — stolen from a game that no longer exists.”

“Please repeat…” the voice began.

“Nothing!” Sid bellowed at the voice.

He realized that the decision had already been made to end his existence. Then Sid recalled something his parents had taught him when he was a little boy, but that he had disregarded as useless as he grew older.

“God in heaven, holy is your name, your kingdom come and your will be done on Earth as in Heaven…” Sid hesitatingly said, struggling to remember exactly how it went, “Give me – no – give us our bread today and forgive us our faults, as we forgive those who hurt us. And don’t let us do wrong and keep us from evil…”

Suddenly, Sid Fieldman’s head, behind his left ear burst, shoving bone fragments into his brain, killing him instantly. But the Ones were too late – because of HeadSpace, the words spread like a virally wildfire throughout Stream and there was no stopping it.

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What’s the Meaning of All This?

Once again I had a night-terror (NT) and once again I was in a fight for my life. This one though was far different from any other I’ve had.

This NT included petrified corpses in uniform stuck in the branches of trees that I had to run by and beneath to escape whatever was chasing me. When I say ‘petrified corpses,’ I’m talking about the kind first pictured in the pages of National Geographic Magazine’s November 1961 issue.

By the time I picked up that issue about Pompeii in Mrs. Crivelli’s sixth grade classroom, it was already 10-years old and I found it fascinating. While the photographs of the entombed bodies didn’t leave me with nightmares, I must admit I’ve been a bit wary of pyroclastic flows ever since.

As for my NT, it concluded with me struggling to climb into the hatch of a B-29 Superfortress bomber. I have never dreamed about that kind of aircraft, because I have never flown in one as part of any mission.

Back in the day, crew members would grab the edge of the opening and lift their legs into the plane first, pulling then pushing the rest of their body in behind. It’s been describe as doing a massive stomach crunch, followed by a laborious pull-up into  a gigantic push-up.

Not once have I ever dreamed about a B-29, because I have never flown in one as part of any service-related mission. An HH-1 Huey helicopter or a C-130 Hercules aircraft I can understand, but an aircraft that saw most of its service during World War II and the Korean War?

In the end, as I tried to hoist myself into the plane, a man grabbed me, preventing me from getting inside. I ended up kicking him in the crotch, then unleashing three hard thrusts into his face with my foot.

The force was so powerful I found myself tumbling out of bed and rolling into a nearby desk. In the end, I concluded as I sat there rubbing the side of my head, that I had literally kicked my ass out of my bed.

And even though no one was around to witness this self-defeating feat, I was a bit embarrassed for myself. However, our dog Buddy, who was sleeping next to me at the time, though thought it was all great fun and wanted to play some more.

“Ahh hell, why not,” I said to him as I picked myself off the floor. “Sleep’s for amateur’s anyway.”

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If She Had Found Him

To claim I was a well-behaved child would be a lie. I was more like Huck Finn to Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, if anything.

During my high school years, I skipped classes so much that I nearly failed to graduate. Only twice did I ever skip school though by staying home and pretending to catch the bus to Crescent City.

The first time I did this was the day I burgled the Morgan’s home stealing a certain military helmet for a friend. I wrote about this in a piece titled, “Days of the Schutzhelm,” which not only exists on this blog site, but was then published in my 2010 book, “Growing Up Klamath.”

Not one to learn quickly from my mistakes back then, I decided a few months later to skip school again by faking like I’d gone to the bus stop, when in reality, I was hiding in the house waiting for everyone to leave.  A brain-trust – I am not.

Soon the house was quiet. Dad had gone to work; Adam, Deirdre and Marcy were off to school; and Mom’s ride stopped by and picked her up to take her to work too. I had the house to myself and the first thing I did was pour myself a cup of coffee and turn on the television.

I was gonna live the life of royalty as I later made myself a couple of egg-mayo sandwiches on toast.

It was about 12:30 in the afternoon and I was down the hallway in my bedroom, getting something, when I heard the front door open. Someone was home!

Immediately I went to stealth-mode by crawling under the bunk bed that Adam and I shared. Beneath the bed were toy’s, articles of clothing, books, shoes and I used them to camouflage myself should whomever came home look under the bed.

Then panic kicked in…the TV was still on and there were dirty dishes and a used pan in the kitchen sink. Still, it laid quietly under the bed waiting for whatever was to come next.

“Hello?” Mom called out. “Whose here!?”

Silence, followed by her rapid uneven gait coming down the hallway. Mom commenced to search the house.

It was the same in each room – the closet opening and closing and so on. Suddenly I heard the closet in our room open, then close and I could only imagine her down on her knees looking under the bed, since my face was practically pressed against the wall.

Next mom opened the curtains to our room. I was sure that I had come to the end of my days on earth at that moment only to hear her turn and quickly walk back down the hallway.

I continued to lay still as I listened to the noises come from the front part of the house as Mom continued about her business.

Soon I heard my brother and sister’s come home. I learned that Adam did a lot of singing when he thought he had the room all to himself.

Eventually, he left and he, my sister’s and Mom were all in the kitchen. I could tell by the fact that the chairs around the table dragged across the floor and that the constant chatter had become filled with mouths filled with food.

It was now or never in my mind. I slipped out from under the bed, opened the bedroom window, popped out the screen, climbed outside, slid the window closed and replaced the screen.

Within a minute I had hopped the back fence and ran as fast as possible to the bus stop, that I knew would not be used until the following day, and hid inside, waiting for the high school bus to go speeding past. Only then did I feel like I could casually walk up the street and enter the home I had jus’ sneaked out of a half-hour earlier.

That night, at the dinner table, there was a lot of talk about the mystery of the TV and the plate and pan in the sink. Mom and Dad eventually decided that some unknown someone had come into the house and helped themselves to some food and watched a little TV before exiting through the sliding glass door, which was left unlocked.

From then on, I concluded, when (and not ‘if’) I skipped school or even a class, I’d do it while on campus of the high school. That’s because along with talk about a stranger having been in the house, Mom couldn’t help brag how she had her little .38 caliber snub-nose revolver at the ready if she discover somebody hiding.

I choked violently on my bite of food when Mom said she’d have shot the “son of a bitch, if she’d have found him.”

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Telephone Booth

The other night I was watching a TV crime drama when they showed the suspect using an actual fully enclosed telephone booth. The sight of it seemed so quaint to the reality of today.

Recently I learned that while telephone booths are few and far between, an artist is using them in New York City to connect the average American citizen’s with the stories of illegal aliens.

“I arrived as an undocumented immigrant,” the voice of a man from Mexico says. “I made it my mission to transform the lives of undocumented students into leaders and role models.”

That’s art?  Whatever, dude.

Seeing the booth on TV, I got to thinking about the last time I used one. It took a minute, but I realized it happened the year I ran away from home and you’d be surprised to know that this wasn’t as long ago as you’d think.

Shortly after my wife and I separated, my mom died — leaving me with a deeply wounded heart. And by July 2002, I took off on a cross-country journey, hoping to find answers to questions I hadn’t yet asked myself.

For close to two-weeks I wondered from California to Oklahoma, up to Nebraska to Utah. I did make one sojourn across the ‘mighty Mississip’ to visit the resting place of Brigadier General William O. Darby (no relation) at Fort Smith National Cemetery in Arkansas.

A few miles outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming, at a truck stop, I decided to fuel up and get another large cup of coffee and more sunflower seeds before heading to parts unknown. After paying for my loot, I noticed a phone booth tucked in the back of the store.

Since I had purposely left my cellphone behind and I really wanted to let my wife know I was alright, I decided to call. It was 4:15 in the morning in the place they call the ‘Magic City of the Plains’ and an hour earlier in Nevada, so I woke Mary up when I called.

We spent nearly an hour on the phone, her sitting on the edge of the bed, me enclosed inside that phone booth. Believe it or not, that phone call helped set my mind straight and I was ready to get back home and stay put.

No artist ever put a phone booth to better use than I did that early morning east of Wyoming’s capital city.

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So Wide Awake

Sleep doesn’t come
Light goes off
Brain comes on.

Thoughts rush me
Stampede unending
Why the unquiet?

Never an answer
Ignored by flood
That scatters’ me.

Remaining in bed
Recalling the day
Tamale too many.

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A Post on Over-Posting

There are days, even weeks where I don’t write a single word worth public consumption. Then there are hours within a day that I can’t turn the spigot off and I write several pieces that I believe are all worth being read.

On the day’s I claim not to write — I really do — while listening to music or reading. They are mostly post-it notes of thoughts that come to me throughout the day and those, for the most part, end up on Facebook.

It’s on the days that I ‘over-write’ that must exercise the greatest of judgment and self-denial, forcing myself to not post them, inundating you with more than you care to read in one day. As it is, it’s already a difficult task trying to get in everything that the Internet has to offer up in a 24-hour period.

Then at times my brain gets so busy that…I can’t remember what my point was going to be. Crap!

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This Minimalist’s Drama

Drama – it probably means something else to you than it does for me; to wit: you might think of a stage play as I think too much emotional bullshit. As I’ve grown older, I have learned to avoid what I think of as drama.

When I was younger, not so much, but they say with age comes wisdom. Well, sometimes…

Recently, I found myself caught up in an online spat over a friend who had complained of having a stalker following her every move. One of friend’s advised her to encourage her stalker – and that’s where I made my mistake.

The trap set, I sprung it. I should have fallen back to my general rule that if it ain’t any of my business and unless I’m specifically called upon, keep my frigging mouth shut and fingers off the keyboard.

This becomes harder when it involves your own kid (no matter the age.) In this case my son’s girlfriend’s in the process of moving from a place where the landlord is emotionally abusive.

When this first began, I worried for my son’s safety and I wanted to act on his behalf. It became worse when this same landlord decided to sit the couple down and lecture them, beginning with: “I don’t know how you were raised…”

Those are fighting words but calmer heads prevailed and I am not in the county lock up today because of it. Too much drama for me.

Another word that I believe has a meaning that you and I don’t share is ‘minimalist.’ To make certain I understood what I was speaking of I had to look it up and it has more to do with a kind of art or the size of government than in keeping one’s life very simple.

This came up after I filled out an online application for a position as an assistant editor for a pets and animal website. Hey, I have dogs, I know how to write and edit – perfect fit. I’ve not heard a word since submitting for the job.

Anyway, the application process was simple – answer a couple of questions, attach a resume and done. So I stayed to the KISS theory – which for me is, “Keep it Short and Simple.”

The first two questions: “Have you ever work on WordPress before? Do you have a college degree?” I answered: Yes and yes.

The next two questions: “Do you own any pets now or ever? Kudos with farm pets?” Again I responded with, “Yes and yes.”

Finally, the last two questions came wrapped in one: “Are you savvy on the Internet and do you consider yourself a good writer?” Like…duh and I replied with “Yes.”

Once sent,I sat back and patted myself on the back thinking, “You’re such a minimalist, Tom.”

Then I looked up and saw all the piles of crap I have surrounding my computer desk. That’s when I told myself the truth, “Minimalist, my ass!”

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Death by Government Regulation

We have the makings of another scorcher in Spanish Springs, Nevada, today. It’s not even noon and it’s already nearing 100-degrees in the shade of my front porch.

That means it isn’t a good day to leave your pets locked outside without shade or plenty of water. Further, it’s not a day to leave them inside your locked car, even if you are simply running inside the store for ‘a minute.’

And personally, I’m rather tired of seeing news reporters dashing out to their cars to film themselves baking cookies in their vehicles without the benefit of an oven. There really are more important things folks should know about in this nation.

While on the subject of leaving a living entity in the car, parent’s remember to look in the back seat before you lock up and leave your vehicle in the parking lot. You don’t wanna leave your youngster behind, tethered in their safety seat.

More and more deaths are occurring from such acts. And while it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for these heat-related death, it is also the fault of the federal government.

After all, if you and I had the freedom to choose where we’d place that child safety seat, we’d be happy to place them in the front-passenger seat like we did before the late 90’s. That’s when some bureaucratic pencil-necked-geek decided an infant traveling in either a forward or backward-facing seat was in more danger of death than on in the back seat.

Now look at what’s happened — five children dead across the U.S. since July 25. And you know this wouldn’t necessarily be happening if the child was up front where they could be seen.

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Progress Being Made

In between working to revamp my blog with a new name and new look, I’ve already run into Reno so Kyle could apply for his old job and to pick up some of his things from storage. I tried to help him but the first crate I lifted tossed my back out.

Right now, he’s in his old room working to reduce the six crates we brought home to hopefully four. Everything else will go out in our shed or in the garage.

We’ll be making another trip in to Reno as Kyle has a three-and-a-half-hour pre-hire class on sexual harassment as he landed a part-time gig at Lawlor Event Center in Guest Services. I’ve been teasing him that his girlfriend should be involved in this evenings class.

It’s a start — and I’m proud of him. Now, all I need do is figure out what to do for three-and-a-half-hours.

UPDATE: Kyle’s SHC isn’t until August. Phew!

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Coyote and Night-Guard

his forsaken call’s heard
sacred night covers form
sound carries over sage
coyote plans his day
begging world join in

night-guard does jus’ so
silence from desert sand

cattle low, stir and settle
moon at crescent quarter
stars high, full and bright

night-guard warbles song
to coyotes’ off-key call
beckoning earth join in

yip, yip, yip each sings

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Washing a Bully Out of His Hair

He was a bully, shoving most everyone around in the barracks and no one seemed willing to stop him, except me. However, he avoided me as much as possible after I knocked him on his butt three times during a boxing match one rainy summer Saturday.

His reign of terror included picking on my friend Holley and I decided that it was time Wes got what was coming to him. Quietly, I began to watch his habits; when he went to chow; left for work; came home; showered and so on.

One morning I realized Wes used the same shampoo as I did and this gave me an idea. If I could, I would replace his shampoo bottle filled with syrup.

If there was one thing he was proud of it was his hair. He spent a lot of time combing and brushing it anytime he passed a mirror or some other reflective surface in which he could look at himself.

Wes had a habit of setting his shampoo and conditioners outside the shower stall when he was bathing, so I knew that this was where the opportunity to switch out the bottles could be made. I narrowed my focus to his bathroom habits from there on.

In the three-week period that I had begun my self-appointed mission, Wes’ bullying continued, including pushing Holley down a set of stairs on the backside of the building. Honestly, I nearly gave up on my plan, deciding to go ‘kick his ass,’ instead, but calmer heads prevailed as Holley talked me out of it.

Because of the last attack, I decided to speed up my plan though. I ended up dumping out a full bottle of shampoo so I could refill it.

That’s when I also made a change to my planning. Instead of syrup, I purchased several small bottles of a hair remover that women were known to use on their legs to avoid shaving.

The following morning I sneaked into the shower area and checked out his bottle of shampoo. And seeing how full it was, I loaded my empty bottle with four containers of the hair removal agent, hoping to make it feel the same in weight.

Since I was too late to switch bottles at that time, I had to wait until the next morning. It was a restless night as I lay in my rack anticipating the outcome.

The next morning, sitting in one of the stalls, I heard him come into the lavatory and turn on the shower. As soon as he pulled the shower curtain closed, I made my move, switching out the bottles.

As soon as I made the switch, I rushed back to my room. I would return to the showers a few minutes later, acting as innocent as a new-born babe.

By that time Wes knew something had happened to his shampoo. But in the same breath, by the time he realized it, a large swathe of the hair he had been so proud of was laying on the shower stall floor.

For the next few days, Wes hid himself in his room, coming out only when he had too. Best of all, he decided to move off base the following week, so the bullying came to an end.

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The Suitor and His Whore

“Damned sidewalk’s a helluva place to make a last stand,” Mack said to Cheese as he helped his friend to his knees.

For his part Cheese wasn’t paying attention to anything Mack had to say as he was busy looking at his scraped up palms and the rip in the left elbow of his best shirt. It was the second time in the last ten minutes the old gutter-rat had ended up on his ear outside the broke down watering hole.

“Ain’t no fuckin’ way to treat a suitor,” Cheese complained.

“You ain’t no fuckin’ suitor,” Mack reminded him, “You’re jus’ a horny old shit that can’t get a piece of ass outta your head.”

“Oh, I’m gonna marry Big Maddie,” Cheese exclaimed.

“Naw — you ain’t,” Mack shot back, “Cuz that woman’s gonna kill you if you go back in there again.”

“I’m gonna, I tell ya!” Cheese retorted.

Mack decided not to argue with his buddy any further concluding the fool must have hit his head the last time he flew out the door. Beside, he was simply there as a matter of support or to call for an ambulance once the dumb-shit couldn’t walk away under his own powers.

It took him another minute to gather himself before he decided to move himself to the sidewalk’s edge where he sat down. Skinned up or not, Cheese remained determined to go back in and win the woman’s hand.

“You ever bang her?” Cheese asked Mack.

“Nope,” Mack answered, adding, “I don’t do whores.”

“She’s one you would – fucks like a wild horse runs,” Cheese said, “And those tits are something to behold when she’s riding you down.”

“You fuckin’ banged your head good that last go, didn’t ya?” Mack snorted.

Cheese didn’t answer as he was already starting to voice his next thought, “The moment she wrapped her lips around my cock and took a drag, I was in love!”

Mack simply sighed. As he did Cheese stood up and walked back to the swinging door of the dive, “Wish me luck, mate.”

“You’re gonna get tossed out on your ass again you stupid son of a bitch,” Mack warned.

“Fuck! I’m in love and it’s all worth it,” Cheese replied as he pulled the door open, adding, “Call a priest cuz I’m either gonna need him to marry us or he’ll have to perform last rites on my corpse.”

Cheese disappeared into the smoky darkness, leaving Mack to wait for the next act to end.

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A Black Bear in the Black Berry Patch

It was warm for the start of September and Adam and I were on a mission. The night before we had decided to pick as many black berries as possible and to give them to Mr. and Mrs. Thompson before the elderly couple headed back home to Alhambra, California.

Our idea centered on making sure they had enough berries to make at least two cobblers over the winter while we awaited their return. It was our way of saying thank you for the cobble pie Mrs. Thompson had made for our family and for the couple taking us boy’s fishing during their visit.

The Thompson’s had been coming to Camp Marigold since before our had moved into the house on Redwood Drive. And each year Mary and Russ Thompson’s preregistered with the camp ground for the space right behind our home.

With summer of ‘71 coming to a close, salmon season on the Klamath River ending and school starting in a couple of days, we grabbed the four wooden buckets Mom had bought at Ben Franklin’s in Crescent City for each of her children. However our sister’s weren’t coming with us as we headed down the street towards the pasture below our neighborhood.

After a few minutes, we came to the hillside that held bush after bush of black berries. It was only yards from the old baseball field we played on and we knew that the bushes on the backside of the patch held the best pickings.

We each slipped our way through and around the dense brambles, with their wide leaves and large thorns. It was well-known that if you wanted to get the ripe and plump berries, you’d have to endure a little pain from an accidental run in with a thorn or several.

Before we knew it Adam and I had all four baskets filled and we were eating berries as we worked our way out of the thicket. That’s when we heard a noise that caused us to stop in our tracks.

It was a heavy foot-fall, followed by a grunt and a gruff sigh. Still clutching our baskets, we quietly freed our selves from the brambles only to come face-to-face with a black bear.

The confrontation left the three of us startled as each of us backed away from the other. While Adam and I continued to put distance between ourselves and the bear, the bear had stopped and was sniffing the air.

“Adam,” I said as flat and unexcited as I could, “Take off running as fast as you can. And don’t look back until you made the road.”

“But Tommy…” he began.

“Run! Now!” I growled.

Adam took off as I stood still, holding my two baskets of berries and facing the bear. My heart was pounding in my throat as I slowly set one of the baskets on the grass in front of me and began backing away.

After walking backwards for several hundred feet, I turned and sprinted in the direction Adam had gone, hoping that the bear wouldn’t follow and would instead stop to feast on the bucket of black berries I’d left behind. It was a great relief to finally reach the safety of the road, where Adam was waiting for me.

We sat on log at the side of the road and watched as the bear made a quick meal of the berries, then played with the basket by flipping it into the air and swatting it as it came down. Once he grew bored with the game, he turned and ambled across the pasture, waded through High Prairie Creek and disappeared amid the alder trees lining the far bank.

“You wanna go get the basket?” Adam asked.

“Naw,” I answered, “We’ll come back for it tomorrow.”

“Yeah, if that bear doesn’t come back first and eat it,” Adam chuckled.

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Taxed to Talk

Congress is always looking for new and sneakier ways to fill it’s pockets with our hard-earned cash. This time it has started to look at parts of former Michigan GOP Congressman Dave Camp’s failed “Tax Reform Act of 2014.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of simplied tax-reform being talked about by President Trump and wanted by the American public. No, Camp’s proposal would restructure the taxation of advertising from a normal — a 100-percent deductible business cost — to one that is only 50 percent deductible, with the rest being amortized over the course of a decade.

The only time in U.S. history that a federal advertising tax was impose was during the Civil War. In the 1980s, Florida briefly imposed one, and it led to the immediate loss of 50,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in personal income and was repealed after six-months.

And aside from some exceptions related to false and misleading content, the federal government has for the most part respected the constitutional mandate of the First Amendment to leave advertising alone. That’s why the Supreme Court, overturned Valentine v. Chrestensen (1942) with writing that “the Constitution imposes no restraint on the government as to the regulation of ‘purely commercial advertising…’”

Thirty-five-years later, in 1977, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its decision in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, that free speech includes paid advertisements or solicitations to pay or to give money. The court explained:

“‘Advertising, though entirely commercial, may often carry information of import to significant issues of the day. And commercial speech serves to inform the public of the availability, nature, and prices of products and services, and thus performs an indispensable role in the allocation of resources in a free-enterprise system. In short, such speech serves individual and societal interests in assuring informed and reliable decision-making.'”

The First Amendment is supposed to apply to all Americans — not only those who can afford to pay a federal tax on it.

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Former CIA Director Calls for a Coup

Former President Obama’s shadow government is slowly moving into the daylight, as his ex-CIA chief John Brennan is openly calling for a coup to oust President Trump, should Trump fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Brennan appeared at the Aspen Security Forum in Vero Beach, Florida, during a panel discussion with Obama propogandist and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out,” Brennan said. “I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future.”

This is one of the best example of how Progressives view their place in the world of politics. Anyone who believes in the U.S. Constitution would never have claimed that saving the future of government is a paramount task compared to the saving of the Republic — but there you have it.

Meanwhile, Mueller’s team has at least three members who’ve donated to Democratic presidential campaigns and organizations over the years. The list includes Jeannie Rhee, who donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton; Andrew Weissmann, who gave $4,700 to a Obama PAC in 2008; and James Quarles, who donated to Obama’s presidential PAC in 2008 and 2012, and Clinton’s presidential PAC Hillary for America in 2016.

Let’s not forget about ‘the Mule,’ himself, and his personal relationship with former FBI Director James Comey, where the entire Russia/Trump-probe starts and ends. The ex-FBI chief and Mueller are described as ‘brothers-in-arms,’ after working together during the controversies over Bush-era terrorist surveillance.

Sounds real impartial, doesn’t it?

Perhaps a coup would be a blessing as it would bring about a second Civil War, destroying the power-base of Progressives. After all there are many more hardened patriots waiting for the Snowflake’s of the Left to violently act against the Republic, allowing for defense of the U.S. Constitution “against all enemies, foreign or domestic.”

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And the Insults Keep Coming

Last week, GOP Congressman Blake Farenthold criticized his GOP colleagues in the Senate for lacking the “courage” to repeal Obamacare and pass a replacement bill. He specifically called out “female senators from the Northeast,” whom he suggested he would have challenged to a duel ― if they were men.

“If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” the congressman said.

This week GOP Senator Susan Collins was captured on a live microphone making fun of Farenthold, whom many speculate was the one he challenged to the duel, “He’s huge…he’s so unattractive, it’s unbelievable.”

Collins was referring to a photo of Farenthold that circulated in 2010, during his first run for Congress, adding, “Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas next to this bunny, Playboy bunny?”

This was followed by Democratic Senator Jack Reed saying to Collins over a hot mic, that she could “beat the shit” out of Farenthold.

Needless to say the media was all over the battle of words. However, it also shows their hapless inability to avoid double standards.

The Left’s propaganda apparatus has had little to nothing to say about ‘The Daily Beasts’ Ira Madison III, who likened Sarah Huckabee Sanders to a drag queen in a posting on Twitter shortly after President Trump promoted her to the role of White House press secretary.

“Butch queen first time in drags at ball,” he tweeted to his followers – along with a photograph of the new press secretary.

Furthermore, they have been largely silent on Hollywood wannabe’s who’ve been unkind to Sanders by openly insulting her on Twitter.

“I felt like Sarah Huckabee Sanders left and right eye switched places or something,” Black comedian Akliah Hughes wrote.

And not to be outdone in nastiness, ‘Family Guy’ writer Damien Fahey tweeted, “Sarah Huckabee Sanders looks like every woman eating lobster on a cruise ship.”

Progressives are so kind and tolerant.

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Obsidian

What is it all about,
These final years of living?

Having worked till you are no longer needed,
Broke and broken –
No further to proceed.

Am I alone in this search for meaning?
If I’m not…
Where are the other travelers on this road?
It certainly seems that I am.

Hiding perhaps,
Cowering in their facade’.

Acting O-so happy
Outwardly faking it?

There is an odd sense
A Loneliness that hangs
Upon my bent and arthritic neck.

Like a stone of obsidian,
Black, shiny, sharp.
Cutting – no – no – no –

Digging through my chest
Until is replaces my heart
And yet, I do not bleed –
Not from my visable wounds…

Instead my life’s energy flows
From words, phrases, cliches’.

And though shared
They are meaningless to
Me,
To you,
In these final years –
Our final years unliving.

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My First Taste of Mexico

There is so much about my first trip to Mexico that do not recall. Not that it was nearly four-decades ago, but because it was a booze-fill weekend where I had no one other than myself to be responsible for or to.

There were five of us, and I sat in the middle, in the back seat of the rented car we were using. In fact, aside from me, the only person I can remember with any certainty is Mike O’Gorman, whom I nicknamed “Jughead,” as he reminded me of the Archie comic book character of the same name.

Up until that time, I had not ventured very far outside of the San Antonio area for worry that I might get lost and have to explain why I didn’t make it back to base in time for morning-time muster. So going to Mexico was a big deal for me and I could hardly wait to get there.

The quickest route was to take Interstate 35 to Laredo and crossing the border into Nuevo Laredo. It was only two-and-half-hour drive but by that time we each chomping at the bit to wet our whistles and meet some South-of-the-Border beauties.

Once across the border, we began asking around for the best watering-hole to be found. This is the last fully cognizant memory I have until Monday morning when I woke up in the trunk of our rented car and being hustled into our barracks get ready for the duty-day.

The particular saloon, bar, club or what have you – the name also escapes me – was full of American Expats who were more than willing to buy (I never spent a dime all weekend,) a round or seven for a group of servicemen on furlough. My haziness kicked in shortly after this point in our adventure.

Aside from drinking, what I do recall is following a couple of fellow American’s from one place to the next. In one instance, we even stopped to get something to eat as we hadn’t eaten anything since morning.

In my mind’s eye, when I reflect back on that moment, it seems like it was nighttime. Anyway, I ordered several of whatever, deciding that the last one had to be the hottest they could make.

Talk about being instantly sobered. First, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see and then I couldn’t stand, having slid off my stool onto the floor and beneath our table.

In retrospect – I can honestly say that I passed out. When I awoke, which was not even seconds after dropping on the floor, everyone was laughing and I did my best to join in, but I think the sudden expulsion of food and alcohol from my body made it a difficult matter.

But, still unwilling to give in, we continued to other places, all on foot to find drink, food and awful side-street exhibitions. Because I had gotten sick, I was no longer as drunk as everyone else in my party.

After being served our drinks, a portly naked woman walked onto the center floor, which I had assumed was a dance area, guiding a mule on a lead. What she proceeded to do with that animal, I refuse to even bother giving words to – it was disgusting, but not wanting to seem uncool in front of American Expat friends, we laughed and carried on like it was the greatest show on earth.

Except for ‘Jughead,’ he wasn’t laughing – instead he was rubbing his face in her hairy-spot like he’d never seen one before. I nearly got sick for a second time.

After witnessing that, I decided I was going to have to wash that sight out of my brain by killing a few memory-cells in whatever alcoholic swill served to me. It didn’t take long for me to become so drunk that I couldn’t really remember up from down or left from right and I stayed there until around two in the morning on Monday.

In reality, I had awaken long before we got back to base. However the more I kicked and louder I screamed to be let out of the ‘god-damned trunk,’ the greater the howls of laughter came from the back and front seat’s of our car.

The booze must have caught up with at some point in the trip back because I have no memory of going through the front-gate of Brooks Air Force Base. In fact, it was a shock to see sunlight once the trunk opened and I was being half-lifted, half-dragged into Building #512.

Afterwards, I decided that if I ever returned to Mexico, I’d either be by myself or in the company of a pretty woman. So, being the romantic that I am, a few years later I went there by myself and wound up in jail for a month.

Oh – and as for O’Gorman and that woman – he claimed he had no memory of doing such a nasty thing and swore up and down that we were making it up.

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Unpacking My Stuffy Head

As I write this, I am in bed battling a summer head cold and losing. Earlier on Facebook I described my condition as having had wet cement shot up my nose, into my sinus cavity and behind my eyes.

The description still holds.

Earlier, as I stood in the shower trying to steam everything loose in my brain-holder I come upon a memory that I’d not thought of in ages. When I was a kid I’d see other neighborhood children, who had not gone to school that day, out playing after the school day was over.

This used to make me so jealous as my mom believed that if you were sick enough to miss school, you were too sick to go outside and play after the school day ended. Looking back I must now say that I completely agree with her.

Unfortunately she’s passed on; fortunately I don’t have to admit it to her.

And by now, most of us have heard of texting while under the influence. Well, I managed to write an entire three-page letter while looped by having taken too much over-the-counter medication – NyQuil and Vick’s Formula 44, to be exact.

(Funny, but my spell check wants to change NyQuil to tequila.)

Anyway, shortly after medicating myself, I decided to write my good friend Deb Spring, who was living in San Diego at the time. Once finished, I sealed it in an envelope, addressed it, put a stamp on and walked it down to our mail box in our apartment complex.

Then a few days later I received a nice, polite letter back from her telling me that she loved me too, that no she wouldn’t have sex with me and that I was already married, so my proposal was out of the question. Needless to say, I was embarrassed and called her to explain.

Being overloaded on medication, I eventually passed out. And when I woke up later that day, I thought it was all a dream or perhaps a hallucination — not the mortifying nightmare it became.

Oh, and Deb, if you still have that letter, it would be okay by me if it happened to find its way to your fireplace or wood stove some chilly evening.

Finally, a few years back I lost my favorite canine companion, Harley. A dog with his caring qualities comes around only once in a lifetime I figured, but I was wrong.

Buddy appears to have the same qualities that Harley had. He like to be with me at all-times, comes to check on me when he’s elsewhere, he likes to wake me by lightly liking my face and at night, and when we hit the rack, he’s right there waiting for me to get settled under the blankets.

In fact, he’s been jockeying for position with my lap-top since I started this post and furthermore, he doesn’t seem to mind the smell of VapoRub – unlike me. Now – if I can only get him to stop snoring…

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Small

“You were born prematurely,” Sam’s mother explained to him when he went to her again to complain about being smaller than everyone else in his class. He had heard the same thing most of his life, but had only now, at age 12, begin to understand what being ‘premature’ actually meant – small.

Sam knew he was different and that was also because of being ‘premature.’ At one point he held the ideal, even though he didn’t fully understand its meaning, as something to be proud of – but then Ernie moved in down the block and everything changed.

Nearly everyday Ernie would meet him around the corner from his house, which Sam had to walk by to get to school. And nearly everyday, Ernie would punch him or knock Sam down, taking his lunch money or rifling through his lunch bag, taking whatever the larger kid wanted.

When he had enough of Ernie’s bullying, Sam finally let him have it with a solid punch to the head. Unfortunately for Sam, a teacher saw him throw the punch and it was Sam and not Ernie who ended up in the Principal’s office and later suspended from school for fighting.

This came after Sam had told every teacher he could about what Ernie did to him each day. Not even Sam’s father could persuade Ernie’s mom to make her son stop his bullying.

“He’s jus’ acting out,” she stated, excusing her boy’s behavior, “Besides, his father isn’t in the picture anymore and he doesn’t always listen to me.”

So Sam resigned himself to being Ernie’s punching bag and lunch-provider for the rest of their sixth grade year together. Sam hoped, prayed and wished that come summertime, things would change.

One late afternoon, Sam’s father came home early from work. Once upstairs he stopped to check in on his son, to see what he was doing.

Sam was looking through the wrong end of the telescope his folks had bought him for Christmas, the year before. His father stood there, watching, perplexed by Sam’s smile as the pre-teen moved the scope ever-so slightly from side-to-side.

Finally, the father couldn’t contain himself anymore, asking, “You do know you’re looking through that the wrong way, right?”

Surprised, Sam swung the tube around and looked at his dad, answering, “Yeah, I know.”

“So what are you looking at?” his dad asked.

“I’m watching Ernie playing in his front yard,” Sam responded with a smile.

“Why?” the puzzled parent returned, “I thought you two were still at odds.”

“Oh, we are,” Sam said, “But when I look at him from the wrong end of the telescope, he looks so small.”

“And..?” the dad asked.

“And he finally looks on the outside like he does on the inside — and I’m no longer afraid of him,” Sam beamed.

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The Opel Kadet Challenge

When I was 10 or 11, my parents bought the most uncoolest car in the world; a gold-colored Opel Kadet station wagon. Being a small car, it only sat three people in the backseat, meaning one of us four kids would have to climb in the very back behind that backseat.

One morning, we loaded up and hit the road, heading south towards Eureka and later Fortuna. Uncomfortable and bored, I started pestering my two sisters and brother.

As we dropped down the hill near Clam Beach, where the California Highway Patrol had an unmanned weight scale and shack, Dad had enough and glared at me in the rear view mirror. Being somewhat intelligent, I knew exactly what that meant: “Knock it off!”

But being only ‘somewhat intelligent’ and realizing I was about to get in big trouble was my forte’. Therefore, I pressed my luck by doing whatever it was I had done to one of my siblings one time too many.

“Don’t make me come back there!” Dad shouted as he looked at me in the rear view mirror.

To be perfectly clear Dad was driving the car, so I felt very certain that he was not about to let go of the steering wheel and climb back to get me. To that end, I was only partly correct.

“I’d like to see you,” I smiled as I did it again and one the kids squealed.

That’s when Dad stopped the car. I mean he didn’t step on the foot brake – nope, he tugged hard on the emergency brake — and everyone behind him went flying towards the dashboard, including me.

Without turning around, he grabbed his intended target, me, and jerked me over my siblings and out through his driver’s door. And right there, on the side of Highway 101, fairly close to the vista point on the south end of Clam Beach and somewhere beneath the airport on the bluff overhead, he commenced to giving me a butt-whipping.

Several log trucks and chip haulers went screaming by as he tanned my back side, each one blasting their horn in amazed approval. Then he marched me around to the back of the car, popped open the hatch and made me climb in before slamming it shut and returning to his place behind the wheel.

Never again did I smart-mouth my dad by challenging him to do something like that, having learned to accept his warning at face-value. And to this day I have no idea why I didn’t think about the fact that all he had to do was stop the vehicle to ‘come back there.’

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The Rocks in My Head

As I got ready to leave my VAMHC (Veteran Affairs Mental Health Care) doctor’s office, I noticed a grouping of rocks, some smooth by the tumbling of rapid waters, still others in rough form, gathered atop her mini-fridge. It seemed a strange place to have such a display.

I couldn’t help but ask, “So you collect rocks?”

She smiled, “In a round-about way?”

“Yeah, how so?” I came back.

“They’ve all been given to me by patients,” she answered.

“Really,” I responded with surprise.

“Yes,” she said, “It may seem strange, but a lot of veteran’s bring them to me – to all of us, as gifts when they come in for their appointment.”

As we exited her office, the doctor pointed to the open door across the hallway. There on the desk sat another collection of rocks that included plain-looking rocks to a piece of purple-colored amethyst.

“See,” she said, her smile widening, “And I haven’t taken the time to figure out why.”

We proceeded down the hallway to the appointment desk, talking about the rock’s and their possible meaning. I confessed to her that I also collect rocks, many without any real worldly value.

Much of my collection is kept in a plastic pencil box. And I can tell you pretty much where and when I picked a particular specimen up and what I thought was so special about it.

“Really?” she asked cheerfully, adding, “So why do you think you do it?”

“For a couple of reasons,” I answered, “First for the memory of it – which is to say, ‘I passed this way,’ and then to feel connected.”

By this time we were at the appointment desk. My doctor turned to me and asked quietly, “Connected to what exactly?”

A smile crossed my face as I answered: “To the world once again.”

“Wow,” she whispered loudly as we shook hands and said goodbye.

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Velva

By week eleven, our final week, we were beginning to see new faces around the barracks. It was the members of a new “baby flight,” entering the pipeline. It was nice to see some different people after nearly three-months.

The night before graduation, after I learned I was going to pass the coarse material, I decided to celebrate by getting drunk. I was sitting at the bar in the club, sucking at my third or fourth beer, when a petite blond asked if I’d like to dance.

A slow song was emanating from the jukebox at the time. Without hesitating I jumped from the bar stool and said yes to the woman in standing in front of me.

Her name was Velva and she was from New York State. We danced close to each other through that song and the two that followed not worried about whether the music was fast or slow.

By the end of the third song we had decided we wanted each other physically. We wasted no time crossing the commons to my barracks room.

Velva was eight years older than me I would soon learn. Furthermore she has two children back in New York as well as a husband.

I didn’t let her stats sway me.

Velva left well after curfew and as I was drifting in and out of sleep. I begged her to stay, but she was worried she’d get caught in the men’s section of the barracks after hours and get in trouble.

Later that morning, after our formal graduation ceremony, I was scheduled to leave the base for my permanent duty sight. Somehow, Velva found me and she wrapped her arms around me as tight as she could and she quietly cried into my shoulder.

All I could do was hold her just as tightly.

Then it was time to go, as a cabbie stepped into the hallway announcing her was there to take me to the airport. And like that I never saw Velva again.

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The Vegetarian Moslem Warriors

Their twisted new age-ism and self-created Islamic beliefs, along with drug-induced paranoia, formed their strange moral code. They were on a mission from God to exterminate anyone they believed to be a witch, earning them the media nickname, the “San Francisco Witch Killers,” but they preferred to be known as “vegetarian Moslem warriors.”

James Clifford Carson, also known as Michael Bear Carson and Susan Barnes Carson, who adopted the name Suzan Bear Carson are two serial killers convicted for three murders between 1982 and 1983 in Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

A married man, James Carson, who also had a master’s degree in Chinese studies, living with one child in Phoenix, Arizona in 1981 when his wife noticed severe behavior changes and left with their child. It was shortly afterwards that Carson began a relationship with Suzan Barnes, who had two teenage sons and who had also recently divorced.

At some point James Carson took the name of “Michael Bear Carson”, telling his daughter in a letter that God had given him the new name “Michael.” Susan also changed her name becoming known as “Suzan Bear.”

In 1979, the Carsons went to Europe. There, the two supposedly married one evening while visiting Stonehenge in England.

By 1980, they had returned to the U.S. and were living as Michael and Suzan Bear in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.They also continued their involvement with drugs and the counterculture.

By this time, Michael Bear Carson’s former wife had become afraid that he would harm her and try to abduct or gain custody of their child, so she took steps to hide herself and the child from him, including moving many times and cutting off contact with mutual acquaintances.

In March 1981, 22-year-old Keryn Barnes, an aspiring petite, redheaded actress from Georgia who had been the Carsons roommate in Haight-Ashbury, was found dead in their shared apartment. Her skull crushed and stabbed 13 times her body was found wrapped in a blanket and hidden in the basement.

Evidence showed that Keryn died at the hands of someone she knew, and the Carsons were the prime suspects, but they disappeared before the body was found.

The Carsons fled to a mountain hideout near Grants Pass, Oregon, where they remained until spring 1982. They then moved to Alderpoint, California, near Garberville in Humboldt County, California, where they lived and worked on a marijuana farm as caretakers and guards.

Some of their fellow workers on the farm said the Carsons were anarchists who advocated revolution and predicted that an apocalypse or nuclear war would soon occur. In May 1982, the Carsons’ had an ongoing dispute with another worker on the farm, Clark Stephens.

Eventually, Michael killed Stephens by shooting him, after which the Carsons’ attempted to dispose of his body by dragging it into the woods, dismembering it and burning it, then burying it under chicken fertilizer, before leaving the area. Two weeks later, friends of Clark reported his disappearance to the Humboldt County Sheriffs’ Office, who investigated and found his’ drivers’ license and burnt remains in the woods.

The Carsons, who at that point were known to their co-workers and law enforcement as the Bears, were suspects due to their dispute with Stephens. Upon searching belongings the Carsons had left behind, detectives found an anti-government manifesto written by the Carsons that called for the assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan and entertainer Johnny Carson.

Alderpoint is an area that’s been locally dubbed as “Murder Mountain.” This is near where my brother, Adam, became involved in the shooting death of Michael Clawson on September 23, 1989.

Detectives had trouble tracking down the Carsons because they had avoided any interactions with government authorities over the years – for example, obtaining drivers’ licenses. However that changed in November 1982, when police picked Michael up in Los Angeles after being reported by someone who saw him hitchhiking and knew the law wanted him for murder in Humboldt County.

Through a police error, Carson was quickly freed and disappeared again before Humboldt County detectives had a chance to question him. But detectives caught a lucky-break as Michael left evidence behind, including a mug shot, address information, and a gun in a police car, that caused investigators to realize that the Bear’s were actually the Carsons.

The Carsons’ so-called ‘witch-hunt’ finally came to an end in March 1983 as they were hitchhiking near Bakersfield, California and were given a ride by 30-year-old Jon Hellyar, who was driving to Santa Rosa, California. While Jon was driving on U.S. Route 101 near Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, an argument and physical fight broke out between Jon and the Carsons, resulting in the car coming to a stop and all three exiting with Suzan stabbing Jon while he and Michael struggled over a gun.

Michael got control of the gun and shot Jon dead at point-blank range on the side of a busy U.S. 101 and in view of passing motorists, one of whom contacted police. A high-speed chase ensued as the Carsons attempted to flee police in Jon’s car, but they were both apprehended following a crash.

The Carsons called a press conference to confess to the murders of Jon, Clark, and Keryn. During the five-hour presser with KGO-TV, the San Francisco Chronicle, and homicide investigators, the Carsons claimed to be pacifists and vegetarian-yoga practitioners who converted to a form of Islam, and described themselves as “vegetarian Moslem warriors.” Michael described Suzan as “a yogi and a mystic with knowledge of past, present and future events.”

The Carsons expressed no remorse, explaining that they put Keryn to death for her transgressions of pretending to convert to Islam and “draining [Suzan] of her health and yogic powers.” Michael added that they knew the murder was necessary because, during a rainstorm, “Each time Suzan said it [that Keryn Barnes should be killed] the thunder would clap.”

Carson said he took a pan off the kitchen stove and hit Keryn over the head “as hard as I could, three times.” When she continued to make slight sounds, he stabbed her in the neck with a small paring knife, which he later buried along the roadside.

The couple went on to say that their ‘second victim,” Clark had sexually attacked Suzan, and that their final victim, Jon had called her a “witch” and sexually abused her as well. Shortly before their trial began, the pair withdrew their confessions, entering pleas of not guilty.

On June 12, 1984, a jury convicted the Carsons of Keryn’s murder, with a sentence of twenty-five years in prison. Later, they found themselves convicted of the murders of Clark and Jon, and for which they received sentences of fifty years to life and seventy-five years to life.

In 1989, the First District Court of Appeal, affirmed their third conviction as it had previously done on the other two convictions. Yet, 26-years later the Carsons became eligible for parole after a federal court ruling forced prison officials to consider them for parole due to prison overcrowding.

Fortunately, Suzan lost her bid and Michael canceled his hearing. Officials say they expect both receive another shot at parole in 2020.

In total, investigators suspect the Carsons in anywhere from nine to 12 murders, both in the western U.S. and in Europe. Meanwhile, James Carson remains incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California, while Suzan is behind bars at Central California Women’s Facility, near Chowchilla, also in California.

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The Cure for Stupidity

It was a sunny day and very warm by the time I stepped outside. I wandered over to the chow hall and had some breakfast, and then strolled out to the small pool near the barracks.

Before I sat down in one of the lounge chairs under the awning, I stripped off my jeans revealing I was wearing a Speedo swimsuit. I splashed around for a few minutes, then returned to the chair, where I dozed off.

Soon the pool area filled with other young men and women enjoying the heat of the late morning sunshine. The noise from their playing in the pool woke me up.

“Here, have a beer,” Bass said as he handed me a brown bottle of ‘Lone Star.’

Without saying anything, I accepted the brew, hoisting it to my lips. It tasted good going down and added to my feeling of relaxation.

That beer was quickly followed by another and then another. Soon I lost count of the number of beers I had consumed and I was feeling no pain.

Someone asked, “Hey, Darby, do you think you can jump from there into the water?”

They were pointing towards the roof of our three-story barracks.

“Yeah,” I responded.

My words came out slurred, though I couldn’t tell it. Without saying anything else, I went around to the side of the barracks and started up the steps.

Once on the third floor landing, I climbed onto the roof. Walking out to the edge of the roof, I peered down into the swimming pool.

I estimated it to be about twenty feet, a distance I knew could easily jump.

Seconds later, I launched myself out over the swimming pool. By this time, everyone was out of the water, watching me.

Upon entering the water, I pulled my legs up towards my chest to keep from bottoming out. As I surfaced, I could hear everyone around me laughing, cheering and clapping.

However I knew something wasn’t right. Like a jolt of electricity, a severe pain shot throughout my body and I had a sickening wish to vomit as I dog-paddled to the edge of the pool.

Not only was I sober, I was also very slow to climb out of the water. As I did, a hush covered the spectators and one of the woman gasped loudly.

I looked at the faces of those around me, seeing the horror in their eyes.

“What’s wrong?” I thought.

Then I looked down and saw what everyone else was seeing. The sight left me reeling.

Both of my gonads were swollen a bluish-purple color as they hung outside my swimwear. They looked to be the size of tennis balls and the sight caused me to actually throw-up.

Immediately, several of the guys, lifted me off the ground and we headed for the base infirmary for treatment. The doctors on duty all said the same thing: my injury was nothing a little ice and a couple of days of rest wouldn’t heal.

“Never again,” I said, “will I jump from something unless it’s to save a life.”

One of the doctors added, “Good, because there’s nothing anyone can do to cure stupidity.”

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Steven M. Smith, 1946-2017

“No, you never get used to it,” I told a friend as I learned yet again of another friend’s passing.

Steven M. Smith (known as ‘Smith in the Morning,’) and I worked together a couple of different times during my radio broadcast career. The first came after I shortly after I moved to Reno, Nevada and landed a gig at KONE, then later doing overnights on KOZZ.

Wet-behind-the-ears, I was still trying to gain a foothold on exactly who I was on-air. Many times you’ll hear the advice, “Jus’ be yourself,” which sounds so easy, but is actually one of the hardest things to attain.

It was Steve, who during the production of an automobile commercial that I was an extra voice on, gave me the best advice an inexperienced disc jockey could get. After the umpteenth take, he stopped and ‘politely’ said, “Damn it, Tom, jus’ talk to me!”

Then he went on to explain that I was sounding more like an announcer than a guy who was simply walking onto a car lot to look at or purchase a vehicle. His instruction was so easy to follow and it helped me finally ‘find my voice’ in radio.

Steve, I learned while doing the overnight shift which lead into his morning drive shift, was not only a consummate professional and smart-ass, but also one the most intelligent personality-radio jocks you could ever work. He read any and all materials he could get his hands on and had the ability to memorize much of it and could recite it once needed.

Often I’d come into the computer room and see him tapping out some drumbeat on his pad, while perusing the Internet. He made it a point to know what was happening in the world and he managed morning after morning to weave that new-found knowledge into listener’s lives and to do it so successfully that it few ever realized that they weren’t really having a ‘two-way conversation.

One more thing before getting to Steve’s stats: he’d be embarrassed by this posting, as he’d think it was too much. He’s the only radio personality that I know of who did his best to stay out of the spotlight unless the job required it.

Steve passed away on June 3, 2017 at the age of 70. Born and raised in Whittier, California on August 30, 1946, he graduated from California High School in Whittier in 1964 and later attended Western State College of Law at Argosy University in Fullerton, California.

He was part of the mid 70’s ‘legendary day’s’ of KDES in Palm Springs, California and inducted into the Nevada Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1999. Steve leaves behind his kids, Matt, Kelsey and Casey.

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Sunday Morning Sidewalk

He rolled over, blinking the sleep from his eyes. It was Greer Valles’ three-month birthday, sober for 90 days, a first for the 68-year-old man in nearly four-and-a-half decades.

Gritting, he willed his aching body from the mattress and gently placed both feet on the chilly floor. Greer smiled, knowing that his sobriety had earned him the opportunity to step outside the compound of the men’s shelter for the first time since the Veteran’s Administration had found him benefits and placed him here.

Though nervous, he could hardly wait to see what the day would bring, but first he had to get showered and dressed. He knew that both were important to his program and he rather enjoyed the discipline he’d long ago left behind.

“I need to do laundry, later,” he thought as he dug through his dirty cloths hamper for a decent shirt to wear. As he did this, he also thought about the line, ‘my cleanest dirty shirt,’ from a song made popular by Johnny Cash.

That thought crashed into the memory of how it had been popular with the guys when he was in Vietnam. He was still ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ when he landed in-country and found himself at Hue City, killing people he had no ill-will towards.

That slipped into the memory of how he came to be in the mess he had found himself in the years since the war had ended. It was a memory he knew he’d be best to avoid as it would turn him sour — and today was no a day for bad moods.

“Ninety-days,” he said aloud as he looked into the eyes of the face that stared back at him from the mirror above the sink. It had been a few years since he’d actually looked at his image in a mirror and it shocked him to find that he was now an old man, gray-haired, bearded and wrinkled.

As required, the old Grunt made his way into the main hall to attend the morning’s first scheduled AA meeting. It was there, after pouring his second cup of coffee and eating another glazed doughnut, that Greer was awarded his ‘90-day chip,’ an aluminum slug that reminded him of the Marine Corps challenge coins he used to collect.

Those, like much of his life, had been lost as he proceeded to burn himself to the ground in an ever-increasing pool of hard liquor and roll-your-own cigarettes. Though he refused to think on it, his mind did play the movie of his life, from getting married to the birth of his two daughters and how he’d had a hard time holding down a job and then the day that his wife took his two prized possessions and walk out of his life for good.

He tried to stay in touch with the girls, now adults, married and with children of their own, his grand-babies, but they refused him.  And often times, as he drank himself into a stupor, he came to the conclusion that the lost connection was because he hadn’t been a good father or husband when they were little.

Thumbing the coin in his hand, Greer walked to the front office and scratched his name across the paper on the clip board that would lead to a day of ‘Liberty.’ Joe, whose job it was to sign people in and out, politely reminded him, “Remember Mr. Valles, the door’s locked at 7 pm sharp and if you’re late you won’t be allowed in.”

“Got it,” Greer replied as he slipping outside and onto the front porch.

“I wonder if this is what a house-bound cat feels like?” he wondered, as if imagining he had secretly sneaked outside to chase a bird or climb a nearby tree.

For the last month he’d been working on making amends to some of the people he hurt. Greer decided that he should go see the woman who owned the little market on the corner.

He’d been arrested for stealing a bottle of 20/20 from her and that is how he came to be in the program and living in the half-way home. She didn’t recognize him when he strode through the door. It took him telling her what he had done for her to even begin to see the former drunk as he had been.

He offered her his apology and a twenty-dollar bill to make up for his theft. Smiling and happy to see the change in the older man, she told him, “No, you keep the money or put it in the offering box the next time you pass a church.”

He agreed, shaking her hand and leaving. For the first time in ages the weight of guilt, or was it shame, melted from his body and even though she hadn’t actually said she forgave him, he realized that saying sorry wasn’t as painful as he had supposed it to be.

As he continued down the sidewalk, the light-bulb came on in his head, “Church!”

He hadn’t been to church since he was first married.

Raised Catholic, Greer had been an alter-boy from shortly after his first communion through his senior year of high school. He was known as a good boy back then and was even looked up to by some the younger kids.

But that was before he enlisted in the Marines. What he had thought was something that would merely place his life on hold for a while, instead changed what life came afterwards.

He didn’t know the name of the church when he opened the door and slipped inside. Out of habit he dipped his finger-tips in the fount of Holy Water and crossed himself as if he’d never strayed from the faith.

Taking a seat in a back pew, Greer Valles listened and recognized what had once been a large part of his boyhood and he relaxed. It felt so comforting that he drifted into a half-sleep, head bobbing backwards and forwards, allowing himself to remember lengthy liturgies of his childhood.

As he dozed, he became aware of something trying to climb into his lap. Half asleep, he first though it might be a cat, but when he opened his eyes and looked down, it was a little boy, perhaps three-years old.

He looked around and saw a woman look at him. Her eyes were wide with fright from the idea of a stranger picking her son up and placing him in his lap.

She got up and crossed the aisle, “I’m so sorry, Mister,” she apologized, lipping the words.

“No problem,” Greer replied in the same form, adding “He’s fine.”

She moved in front of the old man, sitting down beside him. The three sat quietly, the little boy snuggling in Greer Valles lap.

Eventually, he felt the boy’s breathing become rhythmic and he knew the child had gone to sleep, which in turn caused the already drowsy Greer to doze off again. Before he knew it the mother was gently tapping him on the shoulder and taking the still asleep boy from his arms.

“He’s usually afraid of strangers,” she stated

“Well, I’m glad he warmed up to this stranger,” Greer smiled.

“Maybe you remind him of his grandpa,” the woman commented, “though he’s never met either one of them.”

The words stabbed Greer in the heart and to hide the pain he quipped, “Or maybe Santa Claus.”

The mother laughed as she stood and edged past Greer. She turned, looked down, smiling, “Thank you for your kindness and for giving me a break. He’s usually such a wiggle-worm and into everything.”

“Happy to help,” Greer responded as cheerfully as his breaking heart could muster.

He sat there for the next couple of minutes, feeling the sadness spread throughout his entire body. Finally, with a heaving sigh he stood up and walked out the still-open double doorway of church and as Greer Valles stood on the sidewalk that Sunday morning, he knew he wouldn’t make it back in time for curfew.

There, across the street, a bar.

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Divesting Jimmy

After-school football went along swell, like every practice Jimmy was out giving his best. After two-hours of blocking, tackling and running plays, he was looking forward to a shower, getting dressed and the long bus ride home, where he could either sleep or finish what homework he’d been assigned.

Jimmy cut up with his teammates as he slipped his feet into his worn out boots and headed for the exit. As he did so, he pulled on a vest, something he was known for around the high school – a signature of sorts for the Sophomore athlete and student.

As he stood by the row of buses, waiting to get on board, he saw an uniformed officer walking up the sidewalk towards him. He was accompanied by a man in a three-piece suit and they looked very serious.

Before either reached Jimmy, they stopped and the man in the suit pointed in Jimmy’s direction. For his part Jimmy looked to his right thinking that the man was pointing out something beyond him.

Since he was the only person in the direction pointed, he realized the pair was looking at him. He waited as they quickly strode up to him.

“Yup,” the suited man said, “that’s my vest!”

“Turn around, son,” the officer commanded, “You’re under arrest for theft.”

Before he knew it he was in handcuffs and being escorted passed all of his friends to an awaiting cruiser. Less than ten-minutes later he was in a holding cell by himself and wondering what he’d really done.

A detective came up to the bars and asked, “So Jimmy, where did you get that vest?”

“I found it,” he answered.

“Where?” the man queried.

“It was draped over a bush outside the front doors of the school,” the teen responded.

“You didn’t pick it up in the locker room last week?” came another question.

“No, sir,” Jimmy replied.

“Did you think to turn it in?” the detective wanted to know.

Jimmy looked down and his feet and ashamedly answered, “No.”

The detective then walked away, leaving the young man alone to think about the conversation. He had an awful feeling in the pit of his stomach and he wanted to throw up.

An hour later, he was on his way to the juvenile detention center on the outskirts of town. It was there that he learned that he’d be spending the weekend and would see the county judge on Monday morning.

“But the football game, tomorrow…” he pleaded.

“Yeah, what of it?” the guard shot back.

“I’m supposed to play!” Jimmy returned.

“You ain’t going anywhere,” the man stated.

The weekend was a long drawn out affair. Jimmy was held in a room that had only a mattress and a blanket.

He had long given up his street clothing for a white jump suit that was two-sizes too big for his frame. And he had no privacy as he was checked on every 15 to 20 minutes or so, even when he tried to sleep.

Come Monday, he was he was awakened earlier than the rest of the boys being held at the center, he was fed and allowed to quickly shower. Then he was handed some clean clothing, his own clothing, meaning his parents had been to the facility and he never knew it.

The thought left him sad and he cried as he dressed himself for court.

Within the hour he found himself seated outside the court room in a plain room waiting for his case to be called. The wait left his gut churning as his nerves built up in him.

Finally, it was his turn and he was escorted into court. It was the first time he had seen his parents; the old man looked angry and his mama, grief-stricken.

It was almost more than he could take as he stood before the Judge. His mind raced with ways to explain to his dad about how this had happened, and the mistake he’d made by not turning the stupid vest in the first place and how he had learned a lesson from everything that had gone on since Friday.

Jimmy was so busy thinking that he didn’t hear what the District Attorney had said. The next think he recalled was the bang of the Judges gavel on the podium.

“What’s happening?” he whispered to the Public Defender.

“You’re free to go,” she answered, “The DA doesn’t have enough to hold you on the charges.”

That Tuesday, Jimmy learned that because he had been arrested and accused of theft, he was no longer on the football team. It was at that moment that he also realized that from then on, no matter whether he did it or not, he would be questioned or simply blamed for anything that turned up missing.

“And all because I didn’t turn that damned vest into ‘lost and found,’ when I took it off that bush,” he could often be heard muttering to himself, every time he found himself under suspicion.

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Words

The last couple of months, all I seem to be doing is crying. Since March a number of things have happened in my life that have unsettled me.

My youngest sister’s died, knocking my legs from under me, my son suddenly and without much notice, moved clear across the country to New York state, an event that was tantamount to a gut-punch,

Then, amid several hiring refusals following lengthy job interviews, my third grade teacher’s death happened. And then learning of the passing of one of my high school teachers has rocked my foundation — and I found myself crumbling.

Without thought, I wrote about this to my friend’s on Facebook, “I’m ready for a break,” jus’ before that,  “Since I can’t sleep, I was trying to figure out what to do; read, write or stay in bed. I think I’ll cry myself to sleep.”

So I had unwittingly prophesied twice into my life…

Once I figured this out, I couldn’t help but think of the woman the prophet Elisha told that she would have a child. When that child was about 12, he died.

But instead of mourning his death, she rode to ask Elisha to come pray over the boy and resurrect him. However as she galloped across the desert, she was stopped by the Prophet’s assistant who asked her three times if everything was alright.

Each time she answered, “All is well,” instead of saying her son was dead.

She refused to speak something negative, knowing that her words carried life and death in them. Instead, she spoke positively, “All is well,” and through her faith, all was well as her son was raised up from the dead.

Then last night, I cracked (a break) and I literally cried myself to sleep. This is what I call a teachable moment because the time is now, amid our sadness, including mine, to be wise and carefully judge our words, because they, like hers, carry with them the power of life and death.

Having cracked in the middle of the night reminded me of this…

Early, near the turn of the century, I first read the story of ‘The Cracked Pot,’ and how because of its imperfection the water-bearer never returned home with a full allotment of water for the household. And instead of fixing the crack in the pot, the water bearer left it and used it daily to water the side of the trail in which he had planted flowers.

On the other end of the pole the water bearer used to carry water from the well to the house was a perfect pot. It had no flaws in it, thus providing as much water for the house as it was designed.

The moral of the story is that the water bearer (a representation of God) used both the cracked pot and the perfect pot for what they were designed to hold water. However, because God knew the one pot was flawed He used that flaw to build beauty into the world, while the perfect pot did everything it was supposed to do, and nothing more.

This morning, I am still cracked, but I am not broken and the tears I shed last night are God’s to use in His garden and I pray He’s watering you, His flower, today.

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The Smartest-Dumb Thing

During the first of three-weeks of what was lightly termed an ‘Indoctrination Course,’ by the Marine Corps, I learned to react immediately when a Drill Instructor directed me to do something. In reality the old saw, “When I tell you to jump, the only question I wanna hear is ‘How high?’ really doesn’t apply.

Why I was being yelled at has become lost to me over time, however I do recall shouting back, “Aye! Aye! Staff Sergeant!” as I took off at a full run across the Grinder, a large unfriendly and unpopular patch of cement used for everything from marching, drills, physical training to discipline.

Before I got very far the Staff Sergeant shouted my name (something you don’t ever want any DI to know) and I stopped on a dime, coming to attention. And as quickly, he was all over me, wanting to know ‘what the hell was wrong with me.’ The only thing I could think to answer was, “I’m not a Marine, Staff Sergeant!”

He paused for a few seconds to look me in the eye. I figured he was about to lower the boom on me as he responded, “That’s the smartest-dumb thing I’ve ever heard! You get any brighter you might as well go ahead and join the Air Force!”

“Aye, aye, Staff Sergeant,” I yelled back.

From behind me I heard a voice say, “Sarge, he’s already done that…”

The Staff Sergeant looked beyond me, towards the voice and growled, “Corporal, if I want any shit outta you I’ll squeeze your effing head!”

That caused the other nine ‘recruits’ in the course to bust out in laughter. I suddenly found myself standing alone on the Grinder, watching my mates dash across the open surface, and listening to the poor Corporal get dressed down, being reminded that he was “there to assist, not correct the senior NCO when he screws up.”

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Zenda of the Marines

“Third time’s a charm, my…” Zenda let the thought fade as she pulled the door open to the local unemployment office.

In fact, it was her fourth venture to the office as she battled the bureaucracy to get an unemployment check. Zenda, a former Sergeant of the Marines, had recently left the Corps after eight-years and had hopes of using the money to pay for some long overdue downtime.

A few minutes later, Zenda stood in front of the man behind the counter, arguing the state’s policy on the receipt of unemployment and the man was having none of what the Black woman was saying. As Zenda became more frustrated, the louder her voice grew and soon everyone was looking in the direction where the argument was taking place.

Suddenly, she felt a hand grab her right above her right elbow. She look in that direction and found herself face to face with a short, balding man wearing a security officers uniform.

Fighting off the temptation to used the Hollywood cliché of ‘remove it or lose it,’ Zenda smiled and politely asked, “Will you please let go of my arm?”

“You need to leave,” the man responded, “now.”

At five-ten, she stood a good four inches taller than him, so Zenda looked him up and down, then tried to pull her arm from the man’s grip. Still he held her tight above the elbow.

Without warning, Zenda flung her arm back ward, then a quickly jerked it forward, swinging it in a wide arc that broke the security office’s handhold. As she tore herself free, she saw him grasp the butt of his 9mm with his right-hand  and begin to draw it from its holster.

In one swift move, she grabbed the man’s hand as the pistol cleared leather and swept both of his legs out from under him. As his legs rose to the level of the counter top, she twisted the firearm from his hand, and he dropped with a heavy thud to the poorly carpeted floor.

Immediately, she popped the clip from the pistol, flicked the eight bullets from it and tossed the now empty magazine behind herself, then cranked the slider back causing the single copper-colored bullet to eject from the weapon. Then showing a certain deftness, she caught the bullet as it jumped from the gun.

Not missing a beat, she yanked on the receiver, pulling it from the frame of the Beretta. Zenda casually tossed it in front of where she was standing, then dropped the rest of the gun on the floor, kicking it off to the side.

“The next time you touch me or threaten me with a firearm, you better come with back up,” she instructed the man as he continued to lay on the floor.

Then with the remaining bullet, holding it between her thumb and middle-finger, Zenda snapped the unfired projectile at the man much like a soda bottle cap or a penny, where it bounced painfully off of his forehead. Finally, with her head held high and back straight, she walked out of the office.

Within an hour, Zenda was in jail, charged with assaulting the security officer, disturbing the peace, and unable to post bail. Her unemployment check arrived the following day.

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Valeria Van Zanten, 1913-2017

Sadly, another touch of my childhood has slipped into Heaven — and it’s so bitter-sweet, leaving traces of tears on my cheeks.

Valeria Van Zanten passed away on May 4, 2017 in Crescent City, California, at the age of 103. She was born August 19, 1913, also in Crescent City.

Born to Swiss immigrants, Alice and Victor Del Ponte, who homestead 200 acres near Klamath, California, she attended the one-room Terwah School in Terwer Valley and graduated from Del Norte High School in Crescent City.  In 1930, by the age of 16, Valeria was attending Humboldt State University, where she and a friend lived off-campus in an Arcata apartment with a monthly rent of about $17.

“It was Depression time, and we didn’t have very much money,” Valeria told the Humboldt Magazine in 2012. “I was very lucky to be able to go to school. I recall attending HSU or a little over $25 per month.”

As my third-grade teacher, she used to tell about how she wasn’t allowed to go on biology field trips because she was girl. Mrs. Damm, as we knew her then, explained that she was left behind and made to practice her taxidermy skills.

Later, I learned the ‘field trip incidents’ are what drove her wish to read “The Little House on the Prairie,’ by Laura Ingalls-Wilder. To her, she once explained to me, Laura was ahead of her time and she could see herself in the little girl’s character.

And while I can only guess, I’m sure that the many field trips we took while in her third grade class were a result of having been denied going on field trips as a university student. I know many of my childhood friends will never forget hiking down to the old sweat lodge along the Klamath or the rock-hopping amid the tidal pools along the coastline of Crescent City.

Valeria graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934, and within two years was teaching at Klamath Union School in Klamath. She was initially forced to resign her teaching post when she married, but after insisting that the ‘rule’ were not equally enforced, she won her job back.

I met Mrs. Damm in late summer 1965, shortly after the building of Margaret Keating School which replaced the old Klamath Union, after two catastrophic floods along the Klamath River destroyed it the year before.

Employed by Del Norte County School District for over 30 years, upon her retirement in 1973, Valeria took up traveling, visiting  places like Europe, Israel, Syria and Peru.

“All of my life, I was fascinated by Machu Picchu,” Valeria explained in the same 2012 interview. “To think that from [a] little farm and little school that I would one day stand at its base was just incredible to me.”

Not only was Valeria one of my grade school teachers, she was also my sister Deirdre’s God-mother. She was a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Crescent City and past president of the Alter Society of St. Robert and Ann Catholic Church in Klamath, where we attended mass.

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Reflections in a Swimming Pool

As I sat waiting to be called into an interview for a job I really did not want, I reflected on the difficult week I was having. Then without realizing I found myself transfixed on the scene unfolding through the large office window in front of me and in the public park across the street.

A group of teachers, parents and children were splashing around in an open-air swimming pool. They looked to be enjoying themselves and I found myself smiling at their enjoyment.

Though the sun was out and it was warm when I entered the building across the street from them, the weather had begun to grow cloudy with the trees bending in a breeze. That’s about the time I noticed that it had began to rain.

What happened next is what usually happens; everyone made a mad scramble to get out of the pool and seek shelter which was the yellow school bus in the parking lot. A few minutes later, the shower dissipated and everyone returned to the pool to continue splashing, swimming and playing.

Following my interview – which I believed to have gone very well and as I drove home – I started to think about what I’d seen. As Christians, this is exactly how we tend to treat our faith: we soak it up while it’s on our terms, but when it begins to rain, we hide when we should believe.

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God’s Toe Nails

Scientists say that the universe is expanding. This is undetectable to the naked eye – so we must take their word for it.

Here’s another ‘fact’ I cannot prove: we sluff off our outer skin cells during every seven year period. If this is so, then I am definitely not the man I was back then  — but I have yet to find any medical literature proving this or explaining if the same is true of our innards.

The first time I heard this I was around 10 years old and was struck by the weirdest idea: Could the manna that fell from Heaven to feed the Israelites in the desert be the decayed skin cells from God’s body? Sorry, I got sidetracked…

Anyway, as for growth, the realization came to me as I was cutting my toe nails, which has become more difficult over the last few years because of the expansion of my girth. At least once a month, I struggle with this task along with the trimming my fingernails.

Further, if I wish to remain clean shaven, I have to crop the growth of hair that sprouts from my chin, cheeks and neck daily. Incidentally, both hair and nail are made up of the same material.

While growing my waist-size, nails and hair are natural occurrences, I also try to grow my mind once a day. For me, reading and writing are my choices when it comes to exercising my ‘brain cells,’ especially writing, whether it is in my personal journal, an article for my blog or short, pithy sayings and jokes.

My wife isn’t particularly interested in what I write, preferring the better groomed authors who deal in historical romance novels. This is how she exercises her brain cells, and I’m okay with this.

She also enjoys doing her own thing to promote her mental health — like working out in the yard, whereas I sit at my keyboard and bang away. Out there in her yard is proof too that the universe is expanding because as the grass greens up, multitudes of dandelions pop forth throughout her landscaping efforts.

These little yellow buds used to be a bother to me and each Spring I’d set out to immediately eradicate them with great prejudice upon sight. But over the years I’ve come to understand that dandelions never learned to grown in the garden, in neat, uniformed rows.

Besides, I’ve also heard that when they bloom, the honey-bee’s aren’t far behind. Those in the know claim that it is the dandelion that the honey bee is generally first attracted to for its first meal following a winter-time dormancy.

So the growth and expansion continues across the universe as it does in my little part of the world. And while it isn’t scientific, it is none the less believable that as Sarah Young writes in “Jesus Calling,” God, who created us in His image, designed us “precariously close to deity.”

So it begs the goofy question: Does God need to trim his toe nails too?

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His Final Mission

The old man – many call him a homeless bum – lay in his sleeping bag under the pine tree out of sight of the families that usually habitated the park in the early afternoon. Much of the old Marines’ life was spent wandering the streets during the night.

It had been this way for him since Khe Sanh, 1968. If possible, the old man avoided all human contact because it brought nothing but trouble to his life.

As a young man, he was certain he had been destined for far greater things than living off the scraps of society. But drugs and alcohol and several stints in one jail cell or another had convinced him that he’d missed his greater purpose.

This afternoon seemed different with it’s lack of screaming children and the echo of adults talking amongst themselves. Instead, the air was filled with a sound that seem both joy-filled and bitter sweet and it finally brought him out his sleep.

“What in the world?” he spoke aloud as he looked to his right and saw the gray, moss-covered stone singing in a language he did not understand.

The stone to his left answered his question: “The One who was, who is and who always will be has returned.”

Frightened, the old man jerked his knees up to his chest and stared at the talking rock. He tried to speak but his fear had caught his voice and refused to let it go.

The stone repeated its exclamation, “The One who was, who is and who always will be has returned.”

Slowly it dawned on the old man what the stone meant. He slipped from his sleeping bag and crawled from under the tree.

All around him stones, rocks, pebbles and even grains of sand sang praised towards Heaven. Then it occurred to him that he had been left.

“No,” he cried skyward, “I didn’t make it!”

The stone, who he had learned the good news from, was listening. Before returning to its worshipping, it reassured the old man that he had not been left, telling him, “You are the witness to those who have not seen, the Saints who have gone before.”

And in a twinkling, the old man was taken up having saw the fulfillment of the scripture which reads: “…the very stones would cry out.”

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April’s Load

Come what may
Jus’ can’t stay
Hit the road
Got nothin’ to say
So outta the way

Ain’t no one cryin’
Ain’t no one lyin’
Gonna go pray
Stomach in pain
From all the strain

Know the want to
Know a need too
Bye April’s load
Gonna go play
Come what may

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The Misheard Instruction

While being interviewed recently by a prospective employer, she asked a question that I’ve never been asked before: “Has there ever been a time when you misheard an instruction or something some told you and what happened and how did you deal with it?”  While I couldn’t think of this particular incident at the time, I do recall what happened back in 1979, as if it were yesterday.

“Anyone here going into the medical field?,” the Airman First Class asked, as we stood ‘butt-to-nut’ along the wall.

Reluctantly, I raised my hand. “Good!” he exclaimed, “You’re with me,” as called me out of line.

Trailing behind him, we entered the lab where others were working. He pointed to a large pile of undeveloped x-ray film and began telling me how I was to hand them out to my flight as they moved by the open window.

With his instructions firmly placed in my brain, he left for his coffee/cigarette break and I proceeded to handout the film. He returned as I was handing out the 37th one.

“What in the fuck have you done” he screamed, “you stupid asshole!”

Everyone in the lab stopped what they were doing and looked our way. I felt the blood rush into my face and my ear begin to burn as if they were on fire.

He grabbed me by the collar of my O.D. green fatigue blouse and jerked me from in front of the window. The act caused me to stumble back and fall on my ass.

The Airman First Class continued to cuss me up one side and down the other because I had failed to understand that each member of my flight had an assigned number from one to 52, and that they stood inline in random order. Evidently, I was to ask each man what his assigned number was and then to hand him the corresponding film.

Needless to say, the next time someone asked any of us what career field we were getting into, no one wanted to volunteer the information. To this day, I will swear on a stack of bible’s and my momma’s grave that I did not hear him tell me that each film had a corresponding number, and thus, to a singular individual.

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Lunch Box

After a particularly long week of pretending to be an adult, there is a part of me that wishes I could return to kidhood. How I long for the days of catching polly-wogs behind the Bizzard’s building or running through the Experimental Forest with friend’s like Goldie Arnold.

What a wonderful time of life. I’d even return for a day of being six again and of playing house with Goldie, in the little blue and white playhouse that sat in the Honeycutt’s front yard.

It was late afternoon one summer’s day when we decided to act like we were going to have dinner. Unfortunately for me Goldie made me be the ‘wife,’ and ‘cook her dinner,’ after getting home for working at the lumber mill.

“But, I don’t wanna be the wife,” I complained bitterly, “I’m no girl!”

She looked at me and with all the grand confidence of having won the argument before it had even begun, Goldie stated, “So? I have my daddy’s lunch box and you don’t!”

I served dirt burgers with a side of grass and water served in plastic teas cups.

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Contract Thuggery

By violently removing a paying passenger from one of its planes, United Airlines has exposed a danger that every member of the flying public should be aware of and that is Public Private Partnerships (PPP.) Anytime, your taxes pay for a facility like an airport or a sports stadium where a private business is going to be operation out of — it is a PPP.

O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, is such a facility. Aside from subjecting an individual to physical assault, kidnapping and the blatant disregard for his civil liberties, both the carrier and the city, which operates the facility, engaged in ‘contract thuggery.’

Let’s take the same situation, but move it to a different venue, say a new grocery store, built using federal, state and local taxes. You go in a get the last loaf of bread on the shelf ahead of closing and pay for it.

You walk towards the exit only to be stopped by an employee who tells you that you cannot have the loaf because another employee needs it. Instead of surrendering the loaf, you make a fuss and the police are called.

Once they’re are on scene, they demand you hand it over — even though you paid for it — and when you don’t, you get hauled off to jail. If you are like me, you know this is wrong.

It’s unlawful for the City of Chicago to enforce United Airlines’ contract. Furthermore, the passenger who was forcibly removed from the plane, lost his right to due process since he held a valid contract for services being rendered between himself and the carrier.

This is where the danger comes in for anyone who uses such a facility: while this incident occurred in Illinois, by using City of Chicago employees to do its dirty work, United has established an example that gives other carriers and other governmental entities permission to uphold contract law through force for private corporations. This exposes PPP’s for what they are – a Soviet-style business plan.

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William Harlan Leslie Shaw, 1897-1972

While searching the online records regarding my sister Marcy’s many legal-actions against businesses and people who failed to comply with the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990, I stumbled onto my Grandpa Bill Shaw’s name. His has led me down an avenue that had long been obscured from my family researches.

He was born William Harlan Leslie Shaw on December 27, 1897 in Mount Blanchard, Ohio to Frank L. Shaw and Nettie L. Musgrave. On August 26, 1918, at the age of 21, Grandpa Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 159th Depot Brigade, Company B, 46th Battalion at Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky.

The role of the Depot Brigade was to receive and organize recruits, provide them with uniforms, equipment and initial military training, then send them to France to fight on the front lines as well as receive returning soldiers at the end of the war and complete their out processing and discharges. According to records Grandpa Bill was there from November 1, 1918 until his honorable discharge as a Corporal on December 11, 1918, which makes no sense as he was supposedly gassed while in the trenches of France.

Following the war, Grandpa Bill got married in Biglick, Hancock County, Ohio, between 1920 and 1930 and by 1930 had become a widower. In 1932, he moved to California and by 1935 he was married and living in San Francisco with my grandmother Leola.

Five years later, Grandpa Bill was listed as both a prisoner in the Alameda County Jail in Oakland, California and divorced. However, Grandpa Bill’s 1972 obituary lists my Grandma as his wife and both are buried side-by-side at Sunrise Cemetery in Fortuna, California.

Grandpa Bill seemingly disappears from the records until he moved to Humboldt County, California in 1964. It is around this time that he his known to have been a member of the Elks Lodge Number 1689 in Crescent City, California and a dues paying member of a bartenders’ union.

And so the search continues…

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Marcy Jean Darby-Velasquez, 1969-2017

This is hard, posting an obituary for my youngest sister as it comes with a hurting heart. I can still recall how Mom’s water broke while in the kitchen the night Marcy was born.

Mom was squatting, looking for a certain pan under the counter. After her water broke (I thought she pee’d herself) I had to help her stand up and then call Dad at work to tell him to get home.

What made it even more memorable is that on April Fool’s Day, Mom tricked Dad into rushing to Crescent City claiming, “it’s time,” only to go to dinner and return home with a new alarm clock-radio combo she bought at Rexall Drugs. I’ve always said that Marcy got the last laugh in that situation.

She and I had not spoken since our mother’s passing in 2002. It was her choice, not mine.

Anyway, I lifted and edited much of what my sister Deirdre posted on Facebook about our youngest sister’s life and death, which is how I learned she had died. I suppose she’s still peeved at me for ‘unfriending’ her on Facebook in order to avoid any further fighting over politics.

Finally, Deirdre says she sent information to me regarding Marcy’s death via the U.S. Mail Service — but we know how that goes…

Marcy Jean Darby was born in Crescent City, California at Seaside Hospital on April 3, 1969 and grew up in Klamath, California, where she attended Margaret Keating School. She passed away in Shasta Lake, California at the House of Hope on March 26, 2017 at the age of 47.

After an accident left her partially paralyzed in 1981, Marcy moved to Fortuna, California, where she attended Fortuna High and East High School. She later attended the College of the Redwoods, Fredericks and Charles Beauty College, both in Eureka, California and Genesis Bible College of Santa Rosa, California.

She’s survived by her sons, Christopher Scot Key and Delmar-James Alexander Key, her sister Deirdre Peterson and family, all of Fortuna, and brother Tom Darby and his family of Spanish Springs, Nevada. Marcy’s preceded in death by her brother Adam M. Darby and her mother Margery Ann Olivera-Middleton and father Thomas Junior Darby.

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One-Horse Town (Part 1)

It was roughly a two-day ride from the tiny town he found himself in to the next, and that was across the border in Mexico. Brady stepped off his horse, wrapping the reins lightly to the post, before dusting some of the travel from his britches.

Everywhere he looked, he saw one name and one name only ‘Keene.’

“A one-horse town,” he thought as he searched out the only grub-hole along the dirt street.

Inside, he found the a table in the far corner from the door vacant and sat down. The special on the chalkboard sign read, “Chikin-n-dumpluns.”

“I hope it tastes better than the spelling,” Brady said to no one as he flagged down the counter help to order.

She was a sight he hadn’t seen in days, petite with deep brown-eyes and black hair. She moved quickly to where Brady sat, ready to take his order.

In her hand she held a piece of paper. “Coffee and today’s special,” Brady stated as he read the note written on the paper.

“Help me.”

Knowing that she might be seen, Brady played it cool and nodded slightly. She vanished into the back, beyond the bare wood counter.

Brady was unable to stem his curiosity, he wanted to know what sort of help she needed. He pulled a worn notepad from his shirt pocket and a pencil tucked on the inside of his hat brim and wrote down a two words: “With what?” and laid the pad open where she could read it upon her return.

She glanced down as she set his coffee in from of him. It came in a china cup, dainty and floral, with a handle too small for even his pinky, and sitting atop a saucer sporting the same design as the cup.

Obviously, she was a step ahead of Brady. Folded neatly under the cup was a bit of paper that read “escape.” Brady picked the cup up by it’s brim and in one gulp drank the liquid down.

“Ma’am” he said, as he raised the cup indicating he’d like more.

“Rosa,” she replied.

“And can I get a bigger cup?” he asked.

She smiled and nodded yes.

He then took the time to write out the words, “Out back. Eat first.”

She stepped up to his table and set a clay mug in front of him and a coffee pot, while taking away the ‘good’ china. As he poured another cup of coffee and wiped the last of the gravy from his plate with a dumpling, Brady fingered the hammer of his pistol, removing the leather-loop that secured the six-shooter from falling out of the holster.

Finished, he put away the note pad and pencil stub, and stood up. He removed from his vests watch pocket a couple of coins and set them on the table, before leaving the diner.

Not wanting to draw anymore attention to himself that he already had by simply being a stranger in town, he slowly checked his saddle, adjusted his bed-roll and made certain his saddle-bags were secure. Once mounted, he reined his horse between the diner and what passed for a hotel, coming out in back of the eatery.

Rosa was there, waiting. She already had herself a horse, saddled, supplied and ready to make her quick getaway.

(To be continued…)

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The Other Door

Some of my better prayers are asked and answered while I’m in the shower. It’s as if the echoing sound of the water rushing from the spray head acts as a masking agent for a soft voice that otherwise is a feeling and not heard.

This is where I was talking to God about a recurring dream event that includes the imagery of doors, both hidden and in the open. I have sought the Lord’s interpretation of this and if it has any real meaning.

“Father,” I asked stood under the water, “What is the meaning of ‘other door? Is it a new beginning, something I’m overlooking or does it mean absolutely nothing?”

As I asked this, I passed gas – a loud, long, sneaky squeaker that made me laugh so hard that I did it two more times involuntarily. Because I was laughing so hard, I breathed in a snoot-full of water, which caused me to gag and begin coughing.

My laughing fit, coupled to my coughing jag, was so intense that I dropped to my knees in the tub. That’s when I heard that quiet voice hidden within the soft patter falling from the shower nozzle whisper, “The back door?”

Laughing even harder, I cried out, “No, God – the other door – not the back door!”

Sometimes the answer we seek isn’t the answer we’re given and sometimes we learn that God has an unexpected sense of humor.

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The Night Amos Moses put the Lime in the Coconut

Last night as I laid in bed and failed to go to sleep, I decided to listen to some music from my nearby device. My taste in music covers nearly every genre available, so many times I end up hearing strange combinations of songs falling back-to-back.

Megadeth  pounding in to the mellifluous Platters, anyone?

Case in point, Harry Nilsson’s “Put the Lime in the Coconut,” played and was followed by the song “Amos Moses,” by Jerry Reed. What is so meaningful to me about this is that this isn’t the first time these two songs have played one after the other in my life.

It was mid-summer, 1971 and the family was visiting my cousin’s at their cabin along the Mad River in Trinity County. My older cousin’s Gary and Steve and my younger brother Adam and I were still awake listening to KATA 1340 AM blasting out of Arcata as we lay in the upper loft of the barn, which had been converted to a sleeping area, when the two songs came on.

Since it was an AM station, the signal came in like a powerhouse after dark, while fading to nothing more than static during the day.

The four of us sang as much of each song as we knew at the top of our lungs, laughing and giggling all along the way. We ended up getting so loud that Uncle Adam had to come out and remind us that we were supposed to be going to sleep and not engaging in horseplay.

“Turn off that radio and good night, guys” he called up to us. Steve reached over and the music came to an abrupt end for that night.

And I as I listened to last strains of ‘Amos Moses,’ fade from my device, I couldn’t help but marvel at the knowledge that I would one day spin records for that same radio station in the 1980’s.

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The Dent Beneath Your Nose

Sue Skaggs was one of our many babysitters when me and my siblings were young. In fact, I was one of the only teenagers that I know of that had to have a babysitter because it was hard to trust me to not get in trouble.

While she smoked cigarettes like a chimney, Mom and Dad could trust her to discipline us when we got in trouble. Furthermore, if we were too out of hand she’s call her son, Vestal to come a set us straight – which if I recall only happened once — which was enough.

As a youngster of ten or 11, I was a chatterbox, even though I stuttered. Because of this, I drove Mrs. Skaggs crazy because I rarely finished a sentence without her feeling the need to complete it for me.

And no, I didn’t think of this as rude because it happened all the time – so if it didn’t happen, like in Mrs. Clauson’s speech rehabilitation class I got terribly frustrated and would shutdown. She would tick me off so badly at times that I would refuse to talk for a couple of days – mostly weekends since I saw her every Friday afternoon.

Finally frustrated with my constant jabbering and broken speech, when I was 13, Mrs. Skaggs told me that the little ‘dent under your nose,’ was a reminder to be quiet. I remember reaching up to feel it and realizing I had really never paid much attention to it before.

This caused me to slowdown and think about what I was going to say before saying it and is probably the reason I still have what radio commentator Paul Harvey referred to as ‘pregnant pauses,’ in my speech. Thus, I have never forgotten what she told me.

Three years later, as I studied for my Emergency Medical Technicians certificate, I learned that little dent below the nose and above the lip had a name: the philtrum or medial cleft. Medical science claims it is a hold over from an earlier time and serves no real purpose now days.

Jump ahead 23-years, as I was studying for my degree in theology, I learned where Mrs. Skaggs got the idea that the philtrum was a reminder to be quiet. Like most informant passed along by word of mouth the story changed in the telling.

In Jewish mythology, each child has an Angel teaching them all the wisdom in the world while they are in the womb. Once shared, the Angel lightly touches the infant’s upper lip to keep the them from telling them to the world and that this is the cause of our medial cleft.

Personally, I like the idea of keeping a secret better than I like keeping quiet.

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Up All Night

In recent days it was suggested that I write about my experiences in the radio broadcast industry. This isn’t the first time such an idea has come up as a few years ago it was recommended and I took it so seriously that I even developed a title for a possible book, “Up All Night.”

Sadly, the title is a play on words. First, I spent much of my career doing swings shift and overnights; secondly, my career was also filled with a lot of debauchery, that I can honestly say is of immense embarrassment now.

So, needless to say, this tome would be filled with tell-all-sex romps, wild nights drinking and stuff that would cause my grandmother to disown me. Happily, all of that is behind me and I shutter at the thought of revisiting that part of my past.

Suffice it to say, I have done things no one should do. It has left me open to become the blame for things I didn’t do, and somethings I knew were being done – and that is damage that at this point seems irreparable to my earthly reputation.

Throughout my career, I have seen people who acted exactly as I did get promoted (one woman works for ABC News these days,) to better positions that came with better pay and other perks. I even know a guy who stole an entire sound/production board for which I got the blame of taking and he continues to prosper, making money hand-over-fist.

Between programmers, consultants and managers I’ve seen some real stupidity. In one case a lid of marijuana was found between the cushions of a couch in the station lounge and the General Manager decided to deal with the ‘drug issue’ by getting rid of the couch.

Sadly, the business is tough on some people. I’ve watched addiction get the better of people who showed real talent while others have taken their lives due to the heartache of a perceived failure.

No, I don’t wanna write such a tell all as I have no ax to grind with anyone in the business and I figure there has to be a better way to make ‘my bones,’ than grinding other people’s bones to dust.

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Have a Shoe

The story I’m about to tell happened today and a part of me wishes it had not happened. It takes me back to a saying I heard once, “To love the world is easy – it’s the jerk down the road that’s the problem”

When I first saw him, he was at the far door, asking anyone who came out if they had any spare change. This man was what one may consider an aggressive panhandler, as I could hear him trying to shame people as he followed them to their vehicles in the parking lot.

Praying to myself, I hoped I wouldn’t have to deal with him. But true to God’s nature, he tasked me with exactly that the instant I opened my mouth and asked for deliverance.

My sense of humor is nowhere close to God’s and his idea of deliverance is a far cry from mine.

“Gotta quarter?” the panhandler said in a loud voice.

“Sorry,” I answered, trying to match his volume in both speech and character. “I don’t have any cash on me.”

Undeterred, he continued, “But you jus’ bought something – so you gotta have some money.”

“No,” I shot back as I readied my key to get in my truck with the idea of a quick escape.

“You’re a liar,” the guy declared.

Caught off guard by such an accusation, I glared at him and replied, “Tell ya what, I’ll give you one of my shoes – but only one.”

“What the hell do I want with a shoe?” he asked with great incredulity. “That don’t make no sense.”

I smiled, though I felt more like knocking his teeth out of his head, and stated, “I don’t know. It makes as much sense as calling a man a liar when he really doesn’t have money.”

There was a long pause before I added, “Like most folks, I only have a debit card. That’s all I carry.”

Angry with me, he snarled, “Fuck you, then!” He stomped off leaving me alone to get in my truck.

While I don’t know if my treatment of the panhandler was right or wrong, in the end his reaction did remind me of Proverbs 9:8, “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.”

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Del Norte County’s Black Dahlia Case

The name written on the cover page of this address book was Lucille Blair, 4981 N. Jersey, Portland, Oregon. It was that of an unknown woman whose badly decomposed and mutilated was was found north of Crescent City on March 1, 1957.

Ten-years earlier Elizabeth Short was found murdered, her naked body sliced in two pieces, earning her gruesome death the infamous moniker, “The Black Dahlia.” The 22-years old’s murder is one of the oldest cold-cases in Los Angeles’ history.

The Del Norte County victim, without hands or feet, and cut in two, was discovered clad only in lingerie by a 15-year-old boy. Coroner Norman Wier said the woman had been dead for about a month before being found.

Among other items found in the swampy undergrowth were a woman’s purse and shoes found near the spot where the unidentified brunette was discovered. Also found were a pair of glass frames with without the lenses, believed to have been worn by the woman.

Del Norte County Sheriff Deputy James Smallwood was assigned the task of tracing the serial number on the frames to a possible manufacturer. Meanwhile, Sheriff Harold E. Scott inspected the purse while deputy William Mooney looked through the address book which contained the names of five women and one man from Denver, Seattle, Portland, Stockton, and San Francisco who may have been friends of the dead woman.

Using the address book Scott left or Portland, Oregon to interview Rhoda Nolestine, who had befriended the victim during a bus ride. Scott took Mooney along and Crescent City school art teacher Robert Harper went to the Rose City to to investigate and draw composite picture of the dead woman from a description furnished by Nolestine.

Nolestine was the mother of Ella Collyer, one of the names listed in the address book. When originally questioned, Collyer could offer no explanation about how her name came to be in the dead woman’s booth.

Then she received a phone call from her mother. That’s when it was learned that Collyer had given her daughter’s name to the then unidentified woman because she wished to order a purse she admired that the daughter had made.

The new lead was expected to set off a chain reaction, revealing the dead woman’s movement prior to the bus ride, who her friends were, and eventually lead to a solution of her murder.

“This is really a good lead, “Mooney stated, “Because bus passengers usually talk a lot during a long trip we’re sure to get many tips which will help tremendously.”

Unfortunately, Nolestine, was unable to recall anything concrete during the five-hour bus ride she shared the dead woman. The 73-year-old was able provide a reason as to why her daughter’s name came to be in the dead woman’s address book.

“I told her my daughter made them and sold them for $2.50”, Nolestine told deputies who were at her Seaside, Oregon home. She added that the woman told her, “I’m going to Crescent City but I’ll be back in a few months. I should like to help her market them. I think she can get more than $2.50.”

She then gave the murder victim gave her daughter’s address. Collyer’s name was the only one in the book which had the correct address.

Even the address of Lucille Blair found in the book and on the Surf Hotel register, where she stayed the night of January 2, proved to be false. Both the hotel clerk and manager stated they remembered the woman.

The hotel manager, Douglas Hepburn told investigators that he was certain the woman who registered at the hotel and the dead woman were the same. Douglas said he remembered chatting with her at check-in, adding she didn’t go out or have any visitors while she stayed the one night in the hotel and had a small suitcase with her.

R. C. Erickson, who was the clerk on duty when the woman checked out about 1:30 the morning of January 3, described her as between 35 and 40 years old, a neat dresser, about five-foot seven-inches tall, and 140 pounds. He said she was wearing a dark skirt with a while high-necked blouse and a dark a gray short coat.

A dark gray short coat and dark skirt were found in the area a few days after her remains were discovered. The items were later identified by the Erickson as those the woman was wearing when he last saw her.

Attempting to trace the her movements after she checked out of the hotel, Erickson recalled she had breakfast and left for the Greyhound depot presumably to catch a bus.

“She did not say what her destination was, but about 7:30 she inquired if she had sufficient time to eat since she had to catch an early bus,” Erickson said.

A part of a bus ticket was found inside a purse believer o have belonged to Blair.

During a Grand Jury probe a year later, it was learned that an Arcata couple were also questioned. The couple, only identified as Mr. and Mrs. Harry Albright were asked about an old letter addressed to Harvey which had similar hand writing qualities as were as found in the address book.

It was later learned that letter was written seven-years before and that the woman who wrote it and was using the alias “Lucille Brown” not “Blair.” It remains a mystery how the letter ended up in the possession of the dead woman.

There was also evidence provided that showed the address book may not have belonged to the murder victim as the hand writing in a letter was written by the woman found to be alive elsewhere. Handwriting experts in Sacramento said there was a 98-percent chance both the address book and the letter were written by the same person.

Albright later alleged that during questioning, an attempt was made to pressure him into admitting he had more than “a passing knowledge of the murder.” He accused Arcata Police Chief Arthur Larson; William Bowen; a Del Norte Brand inspector and former deputy under Scott; Daniel Nations, a Crescent City policeman; and Colan Henninger, a former deputy under Scott of coercion.

No charges were brought against four men.

The Grand Jury’s investigation also uncovered the fact that the dismembered body at one point believed that of Yvonne Conley, the “sweetheart” of George Cole. This came after San Francisco Police tracked a Cole to the Del Norte area during the preliminary days of the murder investigation of SFPD Sgt. Joseph Lacey on December 18, 1956.

Authorities believed that Cole, who had grown up lived in Orick, California had killed Conley rather than risk having her divulge his whereabouts to detectives. Furthermore, investigators learned that the address book, which gave a fake San Francisco address, also provided a name that was “genuine.”

Cole was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List on February 25, 1957. He was eventually captured two years later in Des Moines, Iowa after some identified Conley from seeing a wanted poster.

Lucille Blair was born June 11, 1916 in Cowlitz County, Washington and is believed to have died around February 10, 1957. She was buried as “Jane Doe” by the county in the West Lawn of the IOOF Cemetery, Crescent City, Del Norte County, California.

Like Barbara Short’s murder, Lucille Blair’s murder has never been solved.

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Puppy Stuffing

It was right after New Year’s Day, 1965. Warm temperatures, continuous rain showers and snow melt has washed much of the township of Klamath away before Christmas.

By the time Dad decided to take Mom, Adam and I down to where our little house sat behind the Three Seven’s and Tony’s Market, men with heavy equipment had already began clearing away the mud, the logs and the debris of home’s that washed down from the Klamath Glen.

“Don’t leave my sight,” Dad warned as I scampered over a pile of fractured cement walls and sidewalks.

At only four-and-a-half, nothing looked the same to me and I had no real idea where our house had once stood. All I could do was remember back to the day I saw the water rise up, lifting the two room building off it’s foundation.

It took Mom and Dad standing near a low-laying crumbled wall for me to understand that this was once where the house stood. Mom was carrying Adam as I ran around inside the square outline of our former home.

Soon my parent’s were walking around, picking items up, looking them over then tossing them aside. I had no idea what they were searching for, but I figured I help by looking too.

That’s how I came to find the white stuffed dog that had been on my bed when we left in such a hurry. The dog was a gift given to me by my God-parents when we were still in France.

Excited, I raced back to Mom and Dad, to show them. Caked with mud, still wet, it smelled like mildew.

Dad immediately directed me to get rid of it, “It’s no good.”

Perhaps it was my bitter crying that prompted Dad to change his mind. That evening Mom pulled all the batting out of the toy and put it in a bowl of hot water and soapy suds, letting it soak over night.

Over the next few days Mom worked on cleaning, repairing and eventually re-stuffing the dog with clean cotton batting Ma Sanders had come up with. Then one evening when Adam and I were getting ready for bed, I climbed up onto the feather mattress, pulled back the covers and found my stuffed dog already tucked in.

And though I no longer sleep with it as I did as a child, I still have it tucked in a wooden box where I know it’s safe.

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Dancing the White Line

It was early afternoon when I parked my truck in a vacant spot below ‘C’ Street in Virginia City. Every other door was a saloon or a gaming house and five different bands or jukeboxes blared five different tunes into the street as I hiked up the hillside.

The rattle of the music superimposed itself on the clinking jackpots being paid out, the coins crashing to the open pan below the one-armed bandits, the tumult of voices in conversation, all punctuated by laughter. Early as it was, the historic mining town was alive.

As I rounded the corner, there stood a woman, a multicolored scarf wrapped and neatly tied around her shaven head. She stood near the street, looking up into the sky, traces of wetness shining on her pretty face.

Immediately, I though, “She looks out-of-place.”

Not wishing to ask the obvious, I avoided wanting to know if anything were wrong. Instead I heard myself, “Can I help you?

She turned and smiled weakly as she answered, “Not unless you have a cure for cancer.”

Initially I took the sarcastic comment as her way of saying, “Go away and leave me alone,” it was so biting. However something told me not to allow this stranger to drive me off.

“What kind of cancer?”

“Breast, again.”

“That’s harsh. I’m very sorry.”

She frowned at me, “Why are you sorry? You don’t even know me!”

“I’m sorry you have to go through the fight again, the treatment, the pain and everything that goes with it,” I came back.

“You been through it before?”

“No,” I answered, “But I work for a company that transports lots of sick people to and from the doctor and the hospital.”

There was a long silence that fell between us.

“You’re kind,” she said, finally breaking the conversational stalemate. Shyly, and not know how to take such a compliment, I smiled and looked down at my boots.

“You know,” she continued, “There are so many things I haven’t done and I’m afraid that time is running out. Sad part is I’m only 56.”

A quick calculation and I knew she was 11 years older than me. While her age was of no real consequence, my nature was such that I couldn’t help but do the math.

“So, what is it that you haven’t done?” I asked.

Her face instantly fell blank, “I don’t know. I jus’ know there is so much more to do and I might not get the chance to do any of it.”

The smile on my face left her curious, “What?” she asked, adding, “Oh god…I hope you’re not going to ask me to sleep with you or something.”

“No!” I exclaimed, “But I do want to know if you’ve ever danced in a busy street full of cars and trucks before?”

“Never.”

“Well, would you do me the honor?” I asked as I took her by the hand and gently pulled her into the street.

With all the different music blasting from the bar rooms and much of it fast paced, I held this sad stranger close to me as soon as we reached the white line that cut the town north from south. And there, we danced until both of us were laughing like silly teens and a Storey County sheriff deputy asked us to get out of the roadway.

About that time a woman, she identified as her younger sister, came walking down the wooden sidewalk, grimacing at the woman I had been close dancing with, “Daphne? What’s wrong with you? You know better than that!”

Daphne laughed, “Oh Sis, I am having the time of my life with a cowboy.”

“Have you drugged her or something?”

Daphne gave me no chance to respond, “No, he didn’t – I’m high on life!”

She then kissed me hard on the lips and walked to where her sister stood. I smiled and pulling my hat from head, bowed as low as my stomach would allow as Daphne curtsied, then walked away arm-in-arm with her still suspicious young sister.

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Goldfish in the Cow Trough

Uncle Adam took me with him, to visit his mom, whom we called Grandma Ivy. She was a remarkable woman, double-tough, double-kind and who lived to be 105 years old.

It was nearing the start of summer when Uncle Adam decided to replace the old cow trough, dented over its several years of use and abuse by the critters that called the few acres above Fortuna, home. The old metal tub finally started leaking due to rust and could no longer be ignored.

Uncle Adam had the new tank in place and filled with water in no time. At nine-years-old, I thought of this as an adventure, and one I was certain to write about in Mr. Kirby’s class the coming school year.

What I didn’t know is that the adventure was only half-way over.

As a family, we headed to Eureka to do all of our school clothes shopping for the year jus’ before school began. It always started as a day worth looking forward too, but ended in a struggle. Looking back, I think fatigue and hunger caused us kid’s to meltdown creating a meltdown in our folks.

Anyway, these trips to the ‘big city’ usually ended with a family gathering of all us cousins and my Aunt Barbara, Uncle Adam, Mom and Dad sitting around the dinner table at my Aunt and Uncle’s home. We also spent the night, heading back to Klamath sometime the next day.

Before we headed out, Uncle Adam asked me to come with him to the local feed store. He said he wanted to buy a bunch of goldfish for the new cow trough he had installed three months ago.

Being a jokester, I figured he was kidding. But after buying a dozen inch-long goldfish, we headed up the hill to Grandma Ivy’s place.

At that moment, I became gravely concerned for the fish, asking, “Won’t they freeze to death?”

Uncle Adam laughed and explained, “No. Those fish will – well a couple of them – will do okay.”

“But what about feeding them?” I asked.

“They’ll eat the algae that is growing in the tank,” he answered, “And they’ll be big as a small trout by next year. You’ll see.”

As school started, I continued to worry about those fish, but managed to eventually forget them as the year pressed on. In fact, I didn’t remember them until Uncle reminded me that following June, when he invited me to go take a look at them.

He was right. While the majority of the goldfish had died as a result of being eaten by birds or perhaps a raccoon, two had survived to grow to the size of eight to 10 inches in length – a small trout as he said.

It wasn’t until years later that, for better or worse, I learned this was a common practice among ranchers and farmers raising livestock.

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What Really Happened to Margaret Keating’s Husband

It’s been one of those searches that has left me puzzled – until today. When I was a kid, my folks told me not to ask Margaret Keating about her husband William, telling me it was impolite and that, “Mrs. Keating still misses him dearly.”

That left me unable to find out what had happened to Mr. Keating. Further,  All I knew was that he had died in 1947, which left me assuming that perhaps he had been severely wounded during World War II and died of those injuries as a result.

This theory made the rounds over and over again in Klamath, California, back when I was a child and as far as I know, continues to this day. Well, that ends now as found I the following news item on page 14 in the ‘San Bernardino Sun,’ dated October 9, 1947:

“EUREKA, Oct. 8 (UP) — William Keating, 64, veteran Humboldt millman was killed today by a log which rolled from the mill landing at the Klamath cedar mill.”

With that information I learned he was born October 10, 1882 at Elk River in Humboldt County, California. By finding this out, I also learned Mrs. Keating’s real middle-name, Ella. I’d come to believe she didn’t have one as everything I’ve ever read about her listed her maiden name of Morrison in that place.

Ironically, in November 1947, the same paper reported the barbiturate overdose death and suicide of Dr. William E. Keating. The fact that the paper reported his age as 28 and that, “The young physician was vacationing at Alpine resort with his wife, Dorothy, when he disappeared,” told me this was not the Keating I’d been searching for all these years.

Mystery solved.

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Stuck

Here I am once again, the eighth day in a row, staring at a blank computer screen battling with myself over what to write. I have concluded that I don’t want to write about politics or the Constitution, because I cannot deal with the massive disappointment I feel about the direction this nation continues to move due to the idiocy in Congress.

With that stated, I am kind of at a loss for material, as I am relatively uninspired at the moment. And then that isn’t even the case as I’ve a couple of fictional story idea ricocheting around in my personal think-tank, but have yet to mold a real story line for either.

Stuck. That’s a good word for what I am momentarily. Stuck.

Part of me wants to go off and find some sort of adventure to dabble in for a few days. Perhaps hike through one of the nearby valleys, climbing a remote mountain to see what lays beyond.

But two things stand in my way of this: my back and the weather. I don’t think I need to explain the problem with my back – but the weather does need some speechifying.

In Northern Nevada, we are in the yearly pattern where the sunshine that is flowing from the heaven’s can suddenly shift to a blizzard. And the further back one happens to be in this rougher country. the greater the danger of getting caught and having to hunker down for a couple of days.

Stuck. Again, it is a good word for such a situation. Stuck.

So with no inspiration and no adventure, I turn to writing a sort-of-confession about why I haven’t been writing for the last eight days. It’s very simple – I’m stuck for the moment and am nickle-and-diming about the computer keyboard trying to get turned around from a proverbial dead-end, better known to fellow scribblers as writers block.

But I prefer the more dramatic word — ‘stuck…’

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Trevor the Red

While on my walk the other day, I heard a bunch of yelling and laughter along with what I believed to be the sound of a body being slammed against something. I continued walking toward the noises to find four larger boys picking on a smaller, red-haired, freckle-faces kid, who was taking the thrashing without putting up any fight.

As I walked up on this, I cleared my throat and asked, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” one of the boys doing the pushing and punching stated, adding, “We’re having fun, playing around.”

I looked at the kid being pushed and kicked and asked, “You having fun too?”

His eyes darted back and forth from the kids to me. I letting him off the hook by saying, “I didn’t think so.”

It was kind of stand-off for a few seconds before I spoke up: “Tell you what, instead of pushing, slapping, kicking and punching Red there – why don’t you pick on me?”

Surprise registered on their faces and they look around at each other.

“Besides, I’m about your size and I’m old to boot,” I smiled.

The taller boy bent down and picked up a rock, holding it as if he were going to use it. I could see a slight tremor in his arm as he kept it at the ready.

“So,” I asked, “Whose the leader here?”

The second tallest quickly pointed to the one kid who was about my size.

“Good to know,” I continued, “Because I’m going to ruin any chance of you playing a professional sport when I break your knee.”

Again, they looked at each other.

“And you, with the rock, when you hear his bones snap, you’ll run for home,” I stated as evenly as I could, “Then I’ll only have to contend with one of you – because one of you two will high-tail it to mommy and daddy’s too.”

I wagged my finger in a pointing-fashion at the two boys I was speaking about. The stand-off ended with name calling and me walking Red home.

Along the way he explained that his parents told him he was not to fight, “Besides, I’m afraid to get hurt.”

“And they weren’t hurting you when I stopped them?” I voiced. That’s when I took the opportunity to instruct him about how to handle bullies: “Wrap your arms around the leader and start kneeing him in the groin, punch him in the throat, stick your thumbs in his eyes — it’s a fight not a boxing match, so no ref’s going to blow a whistle and make you go to a neutral corner. Rules don’t count.”

“How do you know all this?” he asked.

“I was small once myself — still pretty short in fact,” I answered, smiling down at him.

“Oh, and you’re going to get hurt either way. Might as well make him hurt a little too,” I added as an after thought.

“You mean beat up?” the kid asked.

“That could happen, but he’ll think twice about picking on you again if you cause him some pain,” I explained, “Besides you know at least two of them really don’t have a heart to fight, so you won’t have to worry about them.”

As I told this too him, his mother pulled up along side of us and asked in a rather concerned voice, “What’s going on and who are you?”

Telling her my name, I let her know that her son is getting beat up on the way home from school and that I stopped it this time. She thanked me for helping her child.

“You know,” told her, “far be it from me to tell you how to raise this young man there, but telling him not to defend himself isn’t doing him justice.”

“You’re right,” she shot back angrily, “it really isn’t any of your business!”

“Okay,” I replied, turning to leave, adding “Oh and by the way, there’s a difference between fighting and defending one’s self. You ought to think about that before he gets seriously hurt. Take care of yourself, Red!”

Today as I walked the same path I saw the bully-leader without his three-pack. I laughed loud enough for him to hear as he crossed the road to avoid me.

As I rounded the corner, I ran into Red. He had a smile on his face from ear-to-ear.

“How’s it going, Red?” I asked.

Still beaming, “I did what you said. Knocked him down even made him cry.”

“Good for you,” I responded, “What’re your parents going to say?”

“Oh, I’m probably grounded for life,” he replied, “but I don’t care.”

“I’m happy for you,” I said, adding, “and I’m proud to know you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions. By the way, what’s your name?”

“Trevor,” he answered.

“Well, Trevor,” using his real name for the first time, “I christen thee ‘Trevor the Red.’”

We both laughed as he held his hand out for me to shake, which I gladly did. I’m expecting to hear from either him mom or dad or both one of these days as I stretch my legs, but I’m not worried as I did right by Red.

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The Embarrassment of Going Hollywood

Initially, I wasn’t going to post this as I don’t want anyone thinking I’m starting to blog endlessly about my dreams and night-terrors. However this is a good study of how my mind and guilt work on me.

A day or so ago I made a rather crude comment to a my friend Ana Alcala de Jimenez. It didn’t occur to me that I was being ungentlemanly until I dropped my head on my pillow; where much of the days events pour out keeping me from sleeping.

The following day, I apologized telling her she ‘deserves better’ and should expect better from me.’ Ana kindly accepted my apology, for which I am thankful.

The lesson in this – aside from minding my manners – is that should have made my apology right there and then. It wasn’t all that late as I generally turn in around 8 p.m.

That night I went to sleep with my planned apology rolling around in my thought-maker. It was during this time that my conscience caught up with me and let me know what a fool I am at times.

It was out back of my grandparent’s home where my mind created an imaginary corral designed with breaking rough-stock; horses that are not saddle-broke. My job was to break at least three ponies a day and that’s what I set about doing.

As I was getting on the first bronc, I noticed Ana sitting on the upper railing near the stacking post. She was a girl again – maybe 14-years-old and she smiled and waved, happy to see me.

That when I decided to go ‘Hollywood,’ (which is cowboy-speak for pretending to be like John Wayne) ride the breast by jumping in the storm-deck and not my normal technique of gentling the animal by building it’s trust in me. You can pretty well tell where this tale is heading, as I hopped in the kack and leaned back for a harder-than-it-has-to-be-ride.

Since the cayuse was saddled, and I didn’t have a single foot in either stirrup, I got gob-smacked in the face with the right one as the fender found its center of gravity – which was the opposite of mine. The blow knocked me right out of the seat and I crashed the hard dirt surface.

Having landed hard like that, in my dream I couldn’t breath, but in life I jolted myself awake. I laid there for a long while thinking about that dream before I finally fell back asleep.

In the end I drew the conclusion that I don’t need to be a show-off to impress my friends, including Ana; I need to be true to myself and do, not only what is right, but what’s expected of me as well.

One last thing – happily I learned this my dream and not out on the ranch. I am pretty sure having a stirrup smash me in the side of the head like that would have left more than a mark by stoving-in my personal think-tank.

Stupidity is never a pretty sight.

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Playstation Possessed

Kyle brought home a Sony Playstation he was given by friend. We immediately set it up on our TV stand and plugged it in.

Over the next few months I would walk into the living room and notice that it was on even though nobody had used in days. This became a common event leaving me to comment to my son, “The damned thing’s possessed.”

We both laughed as we decided on what movie to watch using the console.

Eventually Kyle tired of the piece of electronics and he decided to sell it to a ‘used game’ store. He helped pay for his first cell phone with the money received.

With the recent Wikileaks revelation that the CIA — using proprietary software design by Britain’s MI-5 — hacked into the manufacturing process of Samsung’s Smart TV technology, I’m wondering how far off the mark I really had been in 2013.

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Obama’s Trail of Wire Tapping

The fake-news media not only suffers from a short attention span, but from an ingrained lack of long-term memory, forgetting that much of what it disseminates is available at the click of a mouse. Sadly, they truly believe the American people, at least those who are awake and interested in the truth, have the same memory-lapse that the state-run propagandist incline towards.

Wikileaks recently released a list of Obama Administration wire taps. These include the U.S. National Security Agency bugging a private climate change strategy meeting between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin along with the bugging of the Chief of Staff of UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Obama singled out the Director of the Rules Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO,) Johann Human, and targeted his phone for long-term interception.  Then President Obama also stole sensitive Italian diplomatic cables detailing how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to help patch up his relations with Obama, who was refusing to talk to Netanyahu.

Obama intercepted top EU and Japanese trade ministers discussing their secret strategy and red lines to stop the U.S. from coercing them during WTO talks. He targeted another five top EU economic officials for long-term interception, including their French, Austrian and Belgium phone numbers.

The former president targeted the phones of Italy’s ambassador to NATO and other top Italian officials for long-term interception.Furthermore, Obama intercepted details of a private meeting between then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel and Berluscon as they discussed problems with the Italian banking system.

Additionally, Obama wire tapped various individuals in the U.S. media that were reporting information not flattering to the Obama Administration. In 2013, the Justice Department investigated members of the Associated Press and Fox News’ James Rosen in particular after paranoid administration came to believe government officials and journalists were the passing classified information.

And a year later, reporter Sharyl Attkisson had her personal computer and CBS laptop hacked after she began filing stories about Benghazi that were unflattering to the Obama administration. She had her laptop checked, only to discover that the hacker had used spyware “proprietary to a government agency.”

Eight-years of  U.S. Constitutional violations needs exposing, so there is no time to rest.

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Finishing Mary’s Nightmare

A couple of weekend’s ago Mary screamed in her sleep. After waking her up, I learned that she was having a nightmare about being attacked by a man while she was asleep.

“And your trying to wake me up by shaking me,” she added, “made the attack all the more real.”

I apologized and eventually, we both fell back to sleep. Since then, neither of us have spoken of her nightmare.

Then last early this morning, the nightmare continued – not for her – but for me. Mind you, I’ve never finished anyone’s dream or nightmare before, but as the saying goes: “There’s always a first for everything.”

While I don’t specifically recall pulling into the driveway or walking up to the door and entering our home, I am aware of that feeling, as I do remember walking down our hallway. As I approached our bedroom, I could not only hear Mary scream, I could see the large male figure on top of her.

My action was swift and violent, as I grabbed and jerked him off of her and through our large closet mirror. Amid the smashing sound of the glass, I saw Mary scramble across the bed to the other side of the room and dash for the exit.

That’s when the guy sprang out of the closet and slammed into me. He evidently had a knife which he used to slice into my right thigh.

My reaction, as I look back on it seems almost super-human as I didn’t respond to the pain and instead, hoisted him off his feet and slammed him several times into the corner of the closet, where the door had been. He slid to the floor and fell face down.

A quickly as he dropped, I began stomping on his head over and over until his cranium cracked open like an egg. It was at that second that I jumped awake, covered in sweat and panting as if I’d completed a sprint uphill.

As I lay in bed, recovering from this night-terror, I discovered my right thigh was aching. It is possible I had given myself a cramp in my struggle and it worked itself into the attack.

Where these sort of night-terrors come from, I wish I knew. Furthermore, the violence I show in them is frightening.

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Getting Off My Butt

This is not at all what I had planned to write to day — but…

Having gone for a walk today – twice – gave me plenty of time to think, and yes, too over think as well. I awoke this morning to the realization that I need to do something about my weight-gain and sitting around wishing it away isn’t going to work.

There are three things I know about my body. My back is never going to get any better and I must do something to keep it from getting worse; I weigh 215 pounds, which for a short man is far too much weight to be lugging around; and if I don’t get moving, I could be signing my death warrant.

So it was in that spirit that I headed out the door for a walk. Before I did though, I had to set up my device to measure my performance. It failed the first time because I forgot to save the program, so I had to take the same route a second time.

While it was only slightly over a mile and a half, I had a lot of time to think. One of the thoughts that ran through my noggin is that since God hasn’t answered my prayers to heal my back, that isn’t in his plan.

Instead, He has shut that door, which means He’s opened a windowed somewhere. It is up to me to find it and crawl through it – that is if He doesn’t direct me to it first.

The questions are: will I be smart enough or attentive enough to recognize that open window when it appears? Or might it be right in front of me and I’m simply missing it. This is a work in progress.

It also ran through my brain about how fortunate I am to have grown up where and when I did. For all their humanly faults, my parents did a pretty good job of raising me – and any moral-misstep I’ve taken since leaving their household rests squarely on my shoulders.

It was some of this raising of mine that has put me at odds with others. For instance, I won’t rat on someone (unless they’ve physically harmed someone,) even at the expense of myself. I’ve even blown two possible job opportunities because I refuse to tell what was done to me and I figure that if that company can’t understand this principle, then I wouldn’t want to be employed with them in the long run anyway.

Yeah, yeah, I know — ‘cutting my nose off to spite my face’ doesn’t put bread on the table — yet there are some personal rules one must never let slide.

Further, as a child, I had neighbors and friends of my parents and adults unknown to either they or myself, who’d set me straight when I had been caught screwing up. Most folk, regardless of knowing a kid’s parent or not will corrected a child publicly these days for fear of reprisals.

One last thought I had bouncing around in my cranium this morning is that I’ve come into a new season in my life, a course correction, if you will. There is so much more to life than politics and I NEED to write about that more than I’ve been.

So, as I work my way back into blogging daily, expect to read a few pieces that seem out of place; they’re there for a reason. This is my two-pronged attack at re-energizing my self-discipline, a ‘internal muscle’ which has been too long dormant.

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DOJ Busted Funding Progressive Groups

Slowly but surely, the tentacles that the Obama administration left coiled in place to continue squeezing and choking our nation to death are being undone. The latest finding is that the administration secretly guided over $440 million to activists organizations through the Department of Justice.

While legal, this is an immoral act on the part of the DOJ because the agency is supposed to be impartial. So, in essence the Obama administration found and exploited a loophole in the law to benefit its pet-projects.

By law, when banks are sued by the federal government for things like discrimination or opening fake accounts in order to gin up profitability they usually settle the case by donating to what is called a third-party non-victims program, which doesn’t specify how the monies collected are to be used.

Under this DOJ-approved program, the banks are then incentivized to donate to certain non-profits. For instance, for Fiscal Year 2016, Congress allocated $47 million to Housing and Urban Development. Under the DOJ’s guidance, Citibank and Bank of America kicked in another $30 million.

During the same time period, the federal agency, Legal Services Corporation, which funds and monitors free civil legal aid in the U.S., was allocated $385 million by Congress. It also received an additional $412 million through the DOJ’s skillful manipulations.

Some of the organizations to benefit from these ‘donations’ include the National Council of La Raza, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the National Urban League. And hopefully, it’ll all come to a halt.

Recently, Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia submitted the ‘Stop Settlements Slush Funds Act of 2017,’ or H.R. 522. The bill that would prohibit the DOJ from keeping any of the of money is collects and further, prevents federal agencies from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups as part of settlement agreements.

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A Primer on the U.S. President’s Job

“My job is not to represent the world; my job is to represent the will of the people.” – President Donald Trump

When I first heard what President Trump supposedly said about his job, I got angry knowing that he was wrong in his definition. However, like most everything else in the fake-news media, his statement was misquoted and thus, why I triple check nearly everything I read, write and share.

The job description of the U.S. President is enshrined in Article 2, sections 2 and 3 of the U.S. Constitution and consists of only 322 words. Though short, it covers five areas:

1. The president is the commander-in-chief of the military.

2. The president is responsible for ensuring that the laws passed by Congress are executed and enforced as written.

3. The president is allowed to grant pardons for crimes other than impeachment.

4. The president can make treaties, but only if two-thirds of the Senate agrees to the terms of that treaty.

5. The president can nominate ambassadors, supreme Court justices and other officers, such as cabinet secretaries and federal judges.

That’s all the president is allowed to do by law. However it is nice to hear a President finally place America ahead of the world as we haven’t heard such a BOLD statement from the executive branch in a long while.

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The City of Sparks Goes to the Movies

Time and again government bodies, from federal to state to local, are willing to spend taxpayer monies by selecting which business deserves a cash infusion and which is going to be left to struggle alone. It is frustrating to say the least, as it rarely turns out to be a good thing.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we were told that there were some businesses that are too big to allow to fail; banks and automobile companies. The trend has had a trickle down effect in to the states including Nevada.

A few years ago Nevada decided to cut Tesla Motors a big tax break in order to lure it to the state. More recently Las Vegas has been working on the same deal attempting to drag the Raiders from Oakland, using taxpayers money.

A couple of days ago, Sparks, Nevada, announced it had done the same thing by offering up $1.5 million in room tax money (earmarked for capital improvements) to Galaxy Theaters in order for the billion dollar corporation to renovated a recently closed theater on Victorian Avenue. As part of the deal Sparks is going to pay a million bucks up front for the renovation itself and the remainder in $100-thousand increments over the next five years.

Galaxy says it’s going to spend $6.1 million of their own money on the project. The deal also involves a 10-year lease.

As a side-note, I reported on Spark’s redevelopment project for the Victorian Avenue corridor back in 2005. Back then the claim was that the attacks on 9/11 had cause a downturn in the economy and that had dashed the hopes of city leaders and all the grand plans they had in the works.

Take a stroll south along Victorian, from Pyramid to the interchange at Kietzke Lane and El Rancho Drive where the three streets come together at East Fourth Street. There are at least 15 businesses that could benefit from a healthy infusion of a $100-thousand – after all as local members of the community, that room tax money, which is paid by tourists when they rent a hotel/motel in Sparks, is as much their money as it is the anyone’s.

In reality, that money doesn’t belong to the city. It belongs to the people who live, work and make up the city as it’s lawful residents. That means Sparks is handing out money that doesn’t belong to them – hence – taxation is theft.

As stated before, it is very rarely that any governmental body or agency chooses a successful business and the City of Sparks has been and will continue to be no exception to this rule. Perhaps if they tried creating an atmosphere inviting to the free market system, they’d find success – but then how would our so-called city leaders enrich themselves?

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Dirty Shirley

It was about one month or so before high school graduation and my parent’s decided to treat me to a night out on the town. In Klamath, California, that meant either the radar base, Paul’s Cannery or Crivelli’s Bar in the Klamath Glen. That’s how I came to be sitting at a table with my folks when Mr. and Mrs. McKellar arrived with their daughter, Lisa.

Now, Lisa and I had been in the same grade throughout school beginning in kindergarten. When we were five-years old she developed a bloody nose, so severe she had to go to the school nurse and somehow I got the blame for causing it.

Mrs. Damm, who was principal at the time, called me to her office and I had to stand in the corner where I could be seen by everyone. Though I protested, it didn’t do me any good – so oh, well.

Later, in 7th grade, Lisa and I became co-conspirators along with Julie Van Dusen in the flooding of our classroom. The damage was so significant, that as the named-instigator, the school board kicked me out of public school for the entire year.

The following year, I teased Lisa so badly during recess that she took a swing at me with a baseball bat. I ducked, but poor Kristen Rose never saw it coming and she ended up with a nasty black-eye.

Yup…I went to the principle’s office for that one too. Ah, good times, good times.

Our parent’s ordered Shirley Temple drinks for Lisa and I, since we we’re underage. But somehow they turned into “Dirty Shirley’s” with a hefty shot of vodka.

After three or four of those, I was so overheated that I was in need of some fresh air. The rosiness in Lisa’s cheeks told me she was feeling the vodka’s affect too, so I asked if she wanted to join me.

We sat outside on the large cement porch, talking aimlessly for a while before falling into a silence. That’s when I started thinking about leaning over and kissing Lisa, but I chickened out, worried she’d slap my lips off my face.

Not enough booze, I guess.

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We’re in the Same Boat

Our Federal government, under Barack Obama, has spent millions of our taxpayer dollars to destabilize the government of Macedonia. Obama, working with George Soros and his ‘Open Society Foundation,’ used Ambassador Jess L. Baily to funnel large sums of U.S. dollars to the cause, which is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The cash moved through the State Department and the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID.)For it’s part, USAID allocated about $5 million to various Soros groups in Macedonia since 2012, with another $9.5 million earmarked to intervene in the country’s governmental affairs.

Using this secret funding, the Open Society Foundation has been able to set up and fund dozens of groups within Macedonia. The groups then organized youth movements, created media events and produced violent protests to undermine the government with the end-result aimed at overthrowing it.

One of the Soros’ groups even went so far as to funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” into Macedonian. This book is a tactical manual of subversion and provides direct advice for radical street protests and proclaims Lucifer to be the first radical.

The country recently built a border fence to crackdown on an illegal immigration crisis that overwhelmed law enforcement agencies. Between 10,000 and 12,000 illegal aliens were crossing the Greek-Macedonian border daily at the peak of the European migration crisis.

This is one of Soros pet-projects, as he’s done everything in his power to diminish U.S. global power and increase in Muslim immigration. Soros even spent tens of millions of dollars to secretly support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign through various groups with purposefully obscured ties to his different organizations.

Last month Utah Senator Mike Lee sent Baily a letter asking questions involving the U.S. Mission to Macedonia’s involvement in the political process and its connections to the Open Society Foundation, but Bailey, true to his former boss’ direction, continues to stonewall the senator. And unfortunately, the illegal money continues to flowing as Bailey has yet to be replaced by President Trump.

This should seem familiar to all of us, as the U.S. has been under the same attack since 2012.

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Yellow and Blue

Kyle was six-years old when he began learning about his primary colors. Soon the lessons included which colors, when mixed together, made what other colors.

With this in mind, I picked him up from school for President’s Day weekend. And as usual, I tried to coax a conversation out of my normally quiet child by asking, “So what did you learn about today?”

To my surprise he quickly answered, “That yellow and blue make green.”

That was the extent of our chat for the next several minutes. Then, without warning, Kyle spurted out, “Oh, now I understand!” as if he had been pondering some great equation all day.

“What’s that?” I couldn’t help asking.

He smiled, “The sun is yellow and the sky is blue.”

“Uh-huh…” I responded.

Then in all seriousness, he stated as if it were a matter of fact: “So that’s why the grass is green! Duh!”

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Marjorie Buckskin, 1953-2017

Marjorie Buckskin passed away February 21, 2017, in Crescent City, California, following a short illness. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in July 2016 and had finished six weeks of radiation on January 10th.margie buckskin It was during a check up in February, that doctors found the disease had metastasized, attacking her bones, making them weak. She told me that she was to undergo a hysterectomy in the final week of this month.

We were next door neighbors on Redwood Drive in Klamath for nearly five-years. Margie was a foster child who lived with the Babb family.the babb family The fact that eight-years separated us in age never occurred to me. Margie, to put it in the simplest terms, was one of the neighborhood kids, which describes my world at the time, so when my parent had their social get-togethers, she was the only ‘kid’ invited.

This used to bug me as I laid awake during these parties and listen as the ‘adults’ talked into the wee-hours of the morning. Looking back, I have a feeling that those gatherings may have been the catalyst for her life’s work as the topic of social change was spoken of often.

Margie, for the most part was quiet and reserved, but she had a laugh that was as loud as it was jolly. Whereas, kids in the neighbor often said they could hear my mom yelling at us kids while they were standing the street, I could hear Margie laughing from the Babb’s family room, while standing in my backyard.

She graduated from Del Norte High School in 1972 and moved away shortly thereafter. I hadn’t seen or spoke to her until I saw a post from a friend on Facebook, calling for emotional support for her in the face of a devastating disease.marjorie-babb-1972-2

Born in Crescent City, December 22, 1953, Margie served on the Yurok Tribal Council for more than a decade advocating for youth, health care and tribal elders. She was elected as representative of the Yurok Tribe’s north district in 1999 and was re-elected three times as well as being elected as vice chairperson in 2009.

During her time on the council, Margie participated in the signing of the first Klamath River dam removal agreement. She also helped the tribe re-acquire more than 20,000 acres of ancestral territory along the banks of the Klamath River.

We spoke to one another for the first time in 45-years around the first of February, and though in good spirit, she sounded weak, out of breath and tired, and excused herself after 20 minutes. It was good to hear her voice and her laughter as we talked about being kids and growing where and how we did.

While I am saddened by Margie’s death I know she’s in Heaven with her foster parents, Marie and Charlie. And though I don’t know Margie’s children, I offer them my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences along with Christine Jeffers, Margaret Martinez and Charlene Davis, who were Margie’s sisters for those five years that she lived in the same home, next to ours.

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A Message Amid the Photos

It’s been 14 days since I was last able to blog because my computer completely died. I have been writing notes and thoughts down in long hand and now must decide whether or no to type them up and post them to the date they were first written.

In that time a number of things have gone on including more snow for Northern Nevada, leading to more flooding, especially to the outlying area’s of the Reno and Sparks area. We also had Mary’s cousin Susan come over from the Oroville, California area with a bunch of family photographs she wanted out of the flood zone, if the Oroville Dam or any of the many, nearby levees failed.

Yes, the Oroville Dam is having some major problems as the spillway has crumbled at it’s midsection, causing water to go in differing directions. And since it is really uncontrolled it can cause erosion and undercut either the dam or a levee, and since Susan lives lower than both, her home is prone to flash flooding.

Having her here, having the family pictures her has been very enjoyable. I love looking a photographs even if I don’t know the majority of the people in them, since they are my wife’s family.

Included in all of this is a paperwork that Susan didn’t realize she had. One paper was her father’s orders to transit from Brisbane, Australia to Manila in the Philippines in 1946 along with another that showed that for the year 1945 he made less than $500 for the entire year as a Merchant Marine.

This got me to thinking about the ‘Greatest Generation,” as Tom Brokaw called those men and women who not only lived through the depression, but beat back Nazism, Fascism, and Imperialism during World War II.

Seeing this piece of paper with such a lackluster amount on it gives me pause and forced me to ask the harder question of ‘Did that near-generational poverty cause some of the problems we are faced with today?’

No, I am not attacking the Greatest Generation, as I think most men and women who returned from battle (including the factory workers, etc.) did what any parent did – and that is shower their children with things. These children, whom we call “Baby Boomers,’ grew up with having nearly all their expectations met, from basic education, to outstanding medical care when needed, to faster, more powerful cars to larger and more energy-efficient homes – all items their parents did without for much of their childhood.

It crosses my mind that Baby Boomers like me, are at fault for this crop of adults we call the ‘Millennial Generation.’ For the most part we had the good life as children and in an attempt to pass it on to our kids, we created a ‘false utopia’ for the majority of our children, from participation trophies to gold stars for simply turning in a school assignment on-time.

What I am trying to say is that each generation passes something along to the next, whether good or bad, and it is time we took responsibility for how our society is crumbling in front of us. God help us, if we don’t.

 

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Cursive

Perhaps the toughest part of fatherhood for me was keeping a straight face when my insides were trying to burst from an eruption of laughter. Mind you, it wasn’t very often that I had to correct Kyle as he had a natural compass that directed him right from wrong and it rarely failed.

One early afternoon, when Kyle was seven or eight, he was in his room playing a Spider-Man video. I was in the living room reading when I heard him drop a loud and angry f-bomb.

Quietly, but quickly I hurried down the hallway, asking, “What did you say?”

Kyle looked up at me in a sheepish way and said it again. He then explained that he got mad at the game and it popped out of his mouth by accident. He followed it up with a sincere apology and stated he wouldn’t happen again.

Satisfied, I let him off the hook and we each returned to our activities – he playing his video, I reading a book. A few minutes later he came wandering down the hall with a look on his face that said he was thinking hard about something.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I don’t understand,” Kyle began, “You’ve been teaching me how to write in cursive, but I’m not allowed to talk in cursive.”

“Talking in cursive?” I queried.

“Yeah, you know – saying bad words,” he answered.

I smiled, “You mean cursing.”

Kyle frowned and in a serious tone, responded, “No. It’s cursive.”

Knowing I should explain the difference to him, I couldn’t help myself as I was curious about how he came to the idea that cussing was cursive, so I asked, “How so?”

“Fuck is fancy talking, like cursive is fancy writing,” he stated flatly.

Yes, I knew right then I had some explaining to do. But it would have to wait as I busted a gut trying hard not to laugh.

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When the Mountain Did Move

It began yesterday when I stopped at the store to buy myself a pair of new suspenders – bright red one to replace my broken black ones. They reminded me of my step-dad, Delmar Middleton, who wore red suspenders all the time.

The memory slipped from my mind until this morning. That’s when I read a note from Pastor Paula White-Cain that said: “Mountains don’t move unless you speak to them.”

That’s when I knew I had to write about an incident that involved Del, my mom and me one morning back in 1993. The three of us went into the hills to an area recently cleared by some large logging outfit, to cut up some deadfall for my folk’s fireplace.

Del and Mom were on the down side of the road, the part we had jus’ travelled up and I was on the upside with Del’s winch-equipped truck. I had jus’ finish setting the choke on a thick branch-sized log and was awaiting Del’s signal to fire up the winch.

As the winch tugged and the choke tightened, the log failed to move. Thinking I had misset the damned thing, I turned off the winch and started back up the hillside.

Del hollered at me to go back and crank the winch up all the way. I could hear he and Mom talking as she wondered if the winch had enough power to do the job.

“Oh, yeah, “Del exclaimed, “It’s got enough juice to move a mountain.”

Right then I threw the thing into max-power and watched as the log shifted and started to slide down the hill. As if moved, I noticed that the dirt beneath it was also moving.

“Mudslide!” I yelled, but by that time Mom and Del were racing down the road.

Not wishing to be outdone, I took off in the opposite direction, leaving the winch in gear. Had I tried to get around to the front of the tuck to power it off, I probably would’ve been run over or sliced into by the cable as it violently shifted farther down hill from the vehicle.

As we watch, the truck began to bounce up and down, moving a couple of inches at a time, then by a foot or two. By the time the mudslide and truck stopped, the log was jammed against the grille of the truck and the truck was hanging off the edge of the gaping wound that replaces the road and hillside.

It took us a couple of hours to get the truck back up onto the roadway and the rest of the day to find another way off the hill. We teased Del the rest of the day, warning him to be careful how he invoked God’s word.

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Bad Ain’t Always Negative

At first, I sat at my desk with the intent to write another page of information about the U.S. Constitution and it application during this rebuilding period of America, but I’m sidetracked this morning. My mind is thinking about my past, the good, the bad and the way I now deal with everything that happens in my life.

It used to be that I whined and complained when I saw someone get ahead of me and into a position that I figured I should have gotten. Eventually, I grew up – matured – and got over such things, though admittedly I carried a secret resentment around that I didn’t speak about.

After a while, that too disappeared as I came to understand that not everything bad in my life was meant to be a negative. Yes, that sounds exactly like an oxymoron, so I’ll explain a little more.

When I was seven, I ran face first into a wall while I had a paper towel tube in my mouth. I caused serious damage to my tongue, having cut half of it off.

Sparing you the details, it was surgically reattached and after a while I was allowed to start eating real food and talking. With the food, I had no problem – but my speech turned into a serious stutter for which I needed years of therapy.

While I still have that stutter when I’m overly exhausted or really excited, I have learned to control my tongue well enough to go on to a career in radio broadcasting. Hell, I even earned a spot in Nevada’s Broadcast Hall of Fame.

A better story still — a friend of mine is preparing to run in her sixth full-marathon. This is after having had her left leg amputated two-years ago when doctors found a deadly bone cancer.

Before this devastating and life altering event, she was a couch potato and smoked a pack and a half a day. She never ran a day in her life and yet today, she’s out in the rain, pounding the pavement, happy to be alive and enjoying the freedom a few miles of running gives her.

So, you see? Not everything bad is negative – it’s all in the way you choose to look at it — and eventually use it.

It’s an even bet that you have something bad in your life that you are looking at as a negative. Identify it, call it out and then turn it into a positive — I promise your life will be better for it.

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Tap Dancing Around Equal Protection

Using terminology like “…represents a substantial, multi-billion-dollar private investment in our Nation’s energy infrastructure…” it’s difficult to see how an Executive Order can fall into the gray-zone of being unconstitutional, but two of President Trump’s orders appears to be tippy-toeing in that area. While hating to be the bearer of bad news, let’s begin with a quick look at the background of Executive Orders.

The Executive Order is designed to be used by the President of the United States to constitutionally maintain the agencies that fall under the Executive Branch of the federal government. When the U.S. Constitution was first ratified, there were only four agencies as opposed to the 16 we have today.

These agencies have been created by law through Congress. The idea behind each creation was to make government run in a more practical and less bureaucratic manner. However, what Congress created instead are agencies that now usurp the very body by which it was created, meaning they place more Legislative power under the Executive branch.

Reviewing the order reinstating the construction of the Keystone Pipeline is a case in point. This creates preferential treatment of a corporation, a foreign one at that, over the individual, which goes against everything in the Constitution.

As for the Dakota Access Pipeline, we again see that the corporation favored over the individual in violation of the Constitution. This isn’t meant as support for those protesting the pipeline, rather the rancher who build a stock pond on his land and is now in jail for supposedly damaging the environment.

In April 2016,  77-year-old disabled veteran and Montana rancher Joseph David Robertson was convicted on two counts of ‘unauthorized discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States causing damage to public lands’ and one count of ‘injury or depredation of United States property.’ He was later sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution.

So, contrary to the Obama administrations assertion, we cannot have the federal government picking winners and losers. We allowed this to happen one with all the so-call stimulus money being floated around that it damned near destroyed our entire economy.

We must stay vigilant, holding ourselves to the highest of standards in the land.

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When Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

An investigation accusing the Bureau of Land Management’s Dan Love of misconduct and ethics violations could end the feds case against Nevada’s Cliven Bundy and others. Love was the special agent in charge of operations during the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff.

Though not named specifically, the report does offer enough details to identify Love as the agent in question. Formerly with the Federal Air Marshal Service, Love was special agent in charge of Utah and Nevada between 2012 and 2015, and whose ouster was called for by Utah’s governor in 2014, while having four Utah counties pass resolutions saying he posed a threat to public safety, and he was the agent in charge of a 2009 raid of the home of Utah doctor James Redd.

A January 30 report by the Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) raises questions about Love, a key witness in the Bundy case. The report cites events that happened during the 2016 Burning Man in Northern Nevada.

Love is accused of requesting flushing toilets, laundry facilities, 24-hour access to ice cream, buying three tickets to the sold-out Burning Man, using five on-duty BLM officers to escort his father, having a family friend and a girlfriend attend the event and changing the hiring process so a friend could be hired. Then during the burning of the effigy, Love claimed 72 hours of official work time over a three-day period.

Love is also reported to have also called other employees and encouraged them not to cooperate, telling them ‘I don’t recall’ was a valid answer to the IG’s questions. He’s also accused of intimidating co-workers into not speaking with the IG.

The IG’s report goes directly to credibility of the government’s case if Love is identified as the agent. Federal officials said the BLM agent’s name was withheld from the report because he is not a top official within the agency.

In January 2016, Ammon and Ryan Bundy became part of a so-called siege at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Oregon and were eventually arrested following the murder of LaVoy Finicum by federal officers. A federal jury later acquitted both of the Bundy’s and five other defendants of all charges.

Cliven Bundy was arrested in 2016 for his part in the 2014 Nevada standoff as he was heading to the Oregon refuge. His sons and 14 others are also charged and are being held as political prisoners in a detention federal facility in Southern Nevada.

The 17 defendants are charged with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, using a firearm in a crime of violence, obstruction of justice, interference of commerce by extortion and aiding and abetting a crime. If convicted, they could spend the rest of their lives in a federal prison.

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Water, Water Everywhere

If you live in Washoe County, Nevada, you’ve no doubt heard we are no longer in ‘a drought situation.’ However you’ll be forced to act as if we were still in that situation because of what the county commission has done for developers.

Evidently, they have decided that county residents should pay for the majority of the water to be used by incoming developers, and not force the developer to pay for that water themselves. The commissions’ reasoning: if the developer isn’t given some sort of break, they will take their business elsewhere.

What B.S.! I say let the developers take their business elsewhere –either that or pay their fair share of the water they use and not force county citizens to pick-up their tab for something the developer and not the citizen will directly financial benefit from.

As for me, I’m tired of paying and paying for government approved activities, like schools, apartment complexes and the sort that do not benefit me or mine. It is time that our local government start listening to the people who elected them and quit worrying about lining their pockets for the next election cycle.

Personally, I’m tired of paying for their elections. Their actions and this future price increase and faux-drought is nothing more than another form of tyranny!

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Fake News is Propaganda by Any Other Name

It shouldn’t be any surprise that Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister’s credited with saying, “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”

The quote is highly reflective of our fake-news media. And the irony is that it’s a form of soft-propaganda because it’s been repeated so often we have come to think of the ‘lie becoming the truth,’ as being true.

During the late 60s and early 70s we were constantly fed stories that proved that the people marching, protesting and violently demonstrating in the streets across the U.S. not only had the right, but were righteous because of whatever cause they were espousing. However, the real under pinning to any and all of these made-for-news events was simply a defiance of authority.

Eventually, these same violent demonstrators, protestors and marchers grew up to become the gatekeepers to that very same institutional authority they sought to defy. As the threat to our national security intensified and our sense of liberty faded, these same people have attempted to create a slowly-rising utopian society.

And for the last eight-years, that creation seemed to be coming to fruition. But, as every man and woman, educated in the ways of liberty, understands that Utopia on earth cannot exist – and the closest human kind has every come to this dream is through the U.S. Constitution.

We’re now watching the same thing happen as the fake-news media peddles its soft-propaganda, electronically celebrating the people exercising their righteous indignation at authority. From clamoring for shared the wealth, stopping police on Black violence, to advocating for abortion and battling a supposed Muslim immigration ban, we are witnessing our nation being torn apart by a power that doesn’t exist except through the will of the people.

It’s time to recognize this ‘style of journalism,’ for what it really is and to call it by its real name – propaganda — and to begin countering it with the truth.

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Banning Muslims isn’t a Trump Thing Only

It’s not jus’ the news media that’s ‘fake,’ so is the Democratic Party. After all, for all its purported indignation over the so-called “Muslim ban” one would think they’ve never supported such a thing. But then, that’s where the ‘fakery,’ comes in.

In 2011, the Obama Administration stopped processing Iraqi refugee requests for six months after discovering that Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohammed Shareef Hammadi, two known al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists, had entered the U.S. as refugees. In fact, Alwan had built bombs in Iraq that killed U.S. soldiers and still he made it into the U.S.

The State Department, which Hillary Clinton led at that time, was in charge of refugee requests when the ban was imposed. Given the fact that the majority of the population in Iraq is Muslim — this is a Muslim ban — like the one President Trump recently signed temporarily halting immigration from Syria and other countries.

Simply put, the Democrats, through Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, supported a ban against refugees from a Muslim country before, but the media with it’s marching and protesting allies in the streets and judges in the courthouse, are doing their best to keep this fact hidden.

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The Fake Battle over the Southern Wall

In May of 2011, then-President Obama proclaimed ‘completed’ a security fence along the border between the U.S. and Mexico  Yet, there are records indicating that the fence was not finished and that the monies to be used for that construction were spent elsewhere.

This research comes on the heels of President Trump ‘ordering,’ Congress to build the wall. His ‘ordering’ of Congress appeared on the surface as unconstitutional, but after learning a few obscure facts behind Trump’s Executive Order, it is completely valid and in line with the U.S. Constitution.

Over 10 years ago – October 26, 2006 to be exact – Congress passed and George Bush signed into law, the ‘Secure Fence Act,’ creating funding for a 700-mile long fence along that same border. So far, the Government Accounting Office hasn’t been able to answer what became of the $1.2 billion that Congress authorized to build it.

Finally, no one, including Democrats, Republicans or the media, brought up the 2006 Act during the run-up to the Presidential election. Instead the Washington D.C. power-elites and their cronies created the false narrative that Trump is a ‘racist’ and a ‘bigot,’ all the while knowing that this act existed.

We’ve been lied to again and cannot let down our guard now — or ever!

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DHS and the Two-Party Veep Creep

The two-party system is not in the U.S. Constitution, and they are not a part of the federal government. Rather they are a private corporate club, and to actually become a card-carrying member, you must pay to join.

This means that the primary gathering and the election are nothing more than a paid get-together for factions within the political parties to lobby and push for one candidate over another. Finally, there is absolutely nothing about this that is constitutional.

On the other hand, the Electoral College is in the U.S. Constitution. It’s designed as a check and balance against the possibility of any political party gaining autocratic control over the election system and it’s supposed to keep that power within the wheelhouse of the States.

But now the federal government wants to take control of the election system through an unconstitutional agency borne out of fear and a desire for security over liberty. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a policy change denoting the system as a part of the U.S. ‘infrastructure,’ which DHS wants to ‘protect.’

Finally, we haven’t had a truly constitutional presidential or vice-presidential election in this nation since before Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And no, the U.S. Constitution was not changed allowing this to happen – Congress simply ignored its duty and it has never reverted back since FDR.

On nine occasions in our nation’s history, the Vice-President has assumed the Presidency. This means should this happen now, that person will have been elected via a political party structure and not the pure-will of the people, making the Constitution’s checks and balances ‘null-and-void.’

It is time to abolish the two-party system, the DHS and return the Vice-President’s election to its constitutional origin.

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The Fostering Hand

“True liberty needs a fostering hand.” – Federal Farmer #8

Little attention’s being paid to the confirmation hearings.  They have become nothing more than a rubber stamp process, a mere formality, but they are constitutionally necessarily.

Such hearings are a part of the checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution and without them the Executive branch becomes an oligarchy. This is what happened throughout the Obama Administration, where time and again nominees were given a pass by the Senate.

Over the years the American people have come to believe that every nominee proffered by the administration must emulate the ideology of the President. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, as each nominee should be dedicated to liberty first as described in our Constitution.

Our liberty – our grandchildren and their grandchildren’s liberty – depends on our duty to stay alert to the application of the Constitution. Liberty needs teaching from generation to generation, if not in public and private school, then at home as the Progressive media will continue to obfuscate the truth.

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Executive Orders Be Damned!

It’s disheartening to watch the same pattern continue from one administration to the next as President Trump appears to waste Legislative governance in favor of Executive Orders and Actions. This isn’t what the American people voted for.

Certainly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should be ignored. The TPP is not really an agreement as mush as it is an unconstitutionally negotiated treaty that has never been ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

Furthermore, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iranian nuclear deal has never been ratified either. And it doesn’t matter how many Senators signed a letter sent to Iran claiming Obama was within his purview to negotiate an ‘Executive Agreement,’ because such terminology isn’t in the U.S. Constitution.

As for the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare, it will take some extra work by Congress to unwind the boondoggle. Since having been ratified by the Senate, it’ll have to pass that way again for it to be completely dismantle it.

On the upside, there is a way to ‘slay this Progressive dragon,’ and that’s by using the U.S. Constitution against its Judicial support. Since The supreme Court decided it is a tax, and created in the Senate and not the House, where ALL bills dealing with taxation must originate, the law can and should be held fully unconstitutional.

There will be even more work needed when it comes to the 23-year old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. First, NAFTA will need to be renegotiated, then ratified a second time by the Senate.

But what is most troubling is the signing of an Executive Action for the construction of a security wall along the U.S.’s southern border. It would have been better for President Trump to direct Congress to write and pass a single-paged bill ready for his signature.

Our Constitutional Republic is in grave-peril and the Trump administration needs to move away from all these newly-minted Executive Orders and Actions and allow the U.S. Constitution to work for the American people and for Liberty, not the oligarchs of the recent past.

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Apathy is the Wolf at the Door

Part of me wants to expose all the ‘Nasty Women” who stepped on stage during protests aimed at disrupting the Progressive media’s coverage of President Trump’s inaugural celebration and first actions taken after entering the White House, but that’s was they want – the distraction. Instead I choose to ignore the distractions and deceivers and press onward, upward and toward liberty.

By my accounting, the danger isn’t necessarily in the distraction or the deceivers – rather it lies with the apathetic. So, what does ‘apathy,’ mean? It is a lack of interest, enthusiasm, concern, indifference, unresponsiveness, impassivity, dispassion, lethargy and languor to state a few.

This is a warning from God to those who fall under one of these many descriptive terms:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

— Revelation 3:15-16

At the same time God says in Zephaniah 1:12 —

“At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’”

Because He will do as he has promised in Hosea 4:6 —

“(M)y people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests, because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”

And if being ignored isn’t enough to get your apathy in check, consider the fact that God has spoken, saying:

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

— James 4:17

The time is now to stop hiding from the reality that your nation needs you  — Liberty calls in a frail voice after eight-years of suborned injury to our U.S. Constitution. If you don’t wish to stand in defense of Liberty for yourself, then consider your children, your grandchildren and their grandchildren.

You are the cornerstone upon which Liberty survives or parishes.

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How to Fire a Senator

 

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, a Progressive Republican, wrongly forwarded the idea that the constant recalling of U.S. Senators by State’s in which they represented, creating temporary vacancies, was slowing down the federal process. So, he called for the U.S. Constitution to be amended, creating the ‘popular’ vote for federal Senator’s as we know it today.

Prior to this new amendment, the Seventeenth to be exact, Senators were appointed directly by their State’s Legislature. Because they were appointed, they were also subject to immediate recall.

Because of ‘immediate recall,’ most Senator’s were forced to conduct the State’s business and the people’s business. If a Senator failed to meet the State’s expectations then they were fired, sent packing and a new Senator, one that would do the people and the states bidding, was appointed.

In essence, the appointed Senator did not have the luxury of meeting full-time with lobbyists as they were constantly being scrutinized by their State’s Legislature, who in turn was under the watchful eye of the State’s Citizenry. This is another example of the ‘checks and balances’ the founders, so ingeniously created and enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Without this check and balance system in place, we are now subjected to six-year terms of soft tyranny. The first of these is the fact that professional politician’s return and return and return with the help of their cronies, though they’ve done little to forward their State’s objectives within the framework of the U.S. Constitution.

Worse yet, is the soft tyranny of what is known as ‘crony capitalism.’ Time and again, the newly minted-Senator goes to Washington D.C. in a near financial ruin, only to emerge a few years later as a millionaire while the people of the State reap no benefit from his work and he cannot be stopped because the State lacks control over him or her.

The only way to put a stop to these ‘legalized’ abuses is to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and reinstate Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the U.S. Constitution, under which Senators were elected by State Legislatures. This way, instead of finding ways to enrich themselves and their cronies, they will be forced to answer to their employer, We the People.

 

 

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Name Tag

Last night, Mary and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by going out to dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy mind you, jus’ a place where we could sit, be waited on and enjoy a good meal.

Our server was excellent. He was engaging and even had water right there even before Mary asked which rarely happens anymore.

As we were ordering, my OCD got the best of me and I had to interrupt him. I pointed out that his name tag was upside down, making it difficult to read.

He immediately stopped what he was doing and fixed it – which made me feel better. As he did he explained that he thought he had lost it because he couldn’t find it before leaving home. However, he discovered it in his locker when he got to work and quickly pinned it on without checking himself in the mirror.

There it was – a trigger to an old memory that really has no bearing anywhere other than to say it happened. The word ‘mirror,’ did it for me.

It was late-summer 1979 and I was in the U.S. Air Force at the time. My office was near the front entrance of the Warren Hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Why I was walking back to my office from the Flight Surgeons’ office, I don’t recall. But what I do remember is seeing my commanding officer seriously eyeballing-balling a Staff Sergeant who had jus’ come in out of the rain.

He had removed his rain coat and was simply standing in the foyer, looking lost. I intercepted him before Captain Covill could say anything to him.

“Ah, there you are,” I stated loudly, “come with me.”

The sergeant’s face crumpled into a serious state of puzzlement as he followed me into my office and into the interior room that wasn’t being used at the moment.

“Do I know you?” he asked.

“No,” I answered, “but my CO was getting ready to jump your ass because your name tag is on the wrong side.”

He looked down at his right pocket then to his left and exclaimed, “Oh shit!”

Without any prompting he began removing the tag to correct the problem. I could see his hands shaking uncontrollably as he fumbled with his shirt buttons, so I stepped up to help.

We got the situation corrected in no time and as we did he explained, “My wife is here, having our first child and I’m a little lost this morning.”

“No problem, Sarge,” I smiled, “I’ll escort you to the maternity ward once you’re buttoned up and ready.”

As we walked down the hallway to the ward, I could feel Covill’s hard stare burning a hole into me. I smiled all the way.

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One Hairy Tale

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a story out of Orick, California, which is about 15 miles from my home town of Klamath. It brought to mind a memory of an event I experienced from my childhood.

It’s never been a secret with me that I’ve held a fascination with Bigfoot. It started as a very young kid, hearing tales from guy’s like Sandy Sanderson, who was a member of the Yurok Indian Tribe.

Later, I would have a chance to meet up with the legend and have my own tale to tell. Most of my time was spent alone as a kid, I don’t know why, but it was.

One day I was off in the woods south of High Prairie Creek and jus’ east of the trailer park of the same name. In the far distance I could hear the sound of the traffic as it raced by on U.S. 101.

As I recall it, I was simply exploring and wasting time playing with my ever present pocket knife. It was nothing at the time for me to be off playing in the forest as it was very different time in the world.

Suddenly, the cows that usually grazed in the pasture on the far side of the creek took off in a panicked run. This was followed by the mad dashing horses that also spent time in the same field.

I stopped to see what had spooked them.

As I looked around, I saw him. He was walking with a quick pace between the edge of the woods and the old barn nearby.

I felt a sudden fear and couldn’t breath as he looked over at me.

He was silent as he moved through the yellowing grass and never slowed down. This all happened in less than half-a-minute (my best guess all these years later.)

He disappeared into the bushes jus’ beyond the barn. As soon as he was gone I took off at in a mad dash to the trailer park. I wanted to be near people and civilization.

Later that night Mom washed my mouth out with soap for telling lies.

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Another Ten-Year Flood Hits Northern Nevada

The rain came shortly after dark, replacing the snow showers from two-days before. Now the entire Truckee Meadows region braced for major flooding.

It wasn’t until after 2 pm that I ventured out. I had been at home monitoring the ditch in our backyard, and one I felt it wasn’t going to wash over I felt it was okay to leave for a few hours.

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Immediately, I found myself halted. Flooding had consumed the intersection of Pyramid Highway and Eagle Canyon Drive, the roadways I generally use to exit our neighborhood.

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The Nevada Department of Transportation trucks were halting traffic from turning right from Eagle Canyon onto Pyramid because of a blockage in one of the overflow pipes that were recently installed. I had to turn back and use Richard Springs Blvd. to David James Blvd. to get to Pyramid.

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Once in town I stopped at Paradise Park. Many of the old timers who recall when there wasn’t a park at the corner of Oddie Blvd and El Rancho Drive say that the area was always a flood plain and they one could tell how back an event would be by how much water collected in the basin.

Half of the park was underwater – I’d say that’s fairly bad.

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My next stop was in the parking lot of the former Siena Hotel-Casino between Lake and Center Streets in Reno. Yes, there are signs posted that no one is to park in the lot, but I took a chance anyway.

The Truckee River was a creamy brown and swift moving. It had come up to within a couple of feet of the older bridges, like the Center Street Bridge and the Sierra Street Bridge to the west.

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Reno’s newest bridge, built a couple of years ago, replacing the one that had been there since 1905, was holding its own. The river had plenty of clearance beneath, exactly as designed.

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Across the river from the Siena is a reserved looking building belonging to the AT&T Telephone Company; their doors barricaded with ten layers of sandbags.

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Walking across the street into the plaza, where the iron-worked “Believe” sculpture is on display I saw people in rain gear, umbrellas and cell phones scurrying about. Each one, like me, hoping to memorialize this year’s event in some personal way.

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Over head the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office’s RAVEN helicopter buzzed; no doubt looking for any possible trouble in the areas west of downtown as their streets began to fill with water.

In Southern California they’re called ‘Lookie-loo’s.” Here in Nevada, we refer to them as the curious and they lined up along the new Virginia Street Bridge to get a good view of the raging Truckee.

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A few more steps west and I found myself along the Plaza on the River. Here there were even more people as well as the camera crews to the three major TV news stations in the area.

Standing there for about 15 minutes, I watched as the water climbed the steps leading to the plaza. Since it was growing dark by then, and with the water creeping it way up each step, I decided it was time to vacate the area before being directed to by law enforcement or fire-fighters.

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Thankful to find my wet and chilled self seated in my truck, I decided to head east on Mill Street to see how far I could get before having to turn around. As I learned I could get all the way to McCarran Blvd., where Mill ends, but I had to turn around because of major flooding in the industrial section of Sparks.

Turning north on Rock Blvd, I stopped in the overpass and took a couple more pictures. One of the river itself, the other, a shot of the foot path that is usually 10 to 11 feet above the river bank, but which was now covered in muddy, brown water.

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With the sun quickly ducking below the Sierra, I continued north on Rock and back into Spanish Springs and home. While there was much flooding to be seen at the time as the snow continues to melt and the rains to fall.

After living here for 30-plus years, I’ve learned that the Truckee River will jump its banks every 10 years no matter what sort of flood mitigation man completes; it’s simply a matter of nature.

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Icicles and Sunshine

Following a couple of night and days of cold, in this case below 10-degrees, it has been pleasant to feel some warmth on my exposed skin. Though there were still some high clouds, the sun managed to filter down giving the landscape of our backyard a slight glow.

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Grabbing my camera, I snapped a couple of pictures of what had once been a pristine five-inch layer of snow. But now, the dogs were dashing about enjoying the change of weather.

At least in the snow – you are able to figure out where and where not to step.

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Our neighbor’s have a beautiful plant that has volunteered itself to our yard by growing underneath the fence line. And though I’ve been told the name of the plant at least three times, I can never remember it when called upon.

Its orange-red buds remain while the rest of the plant has gone bare of leaves. These same buds look brilliant under a thick blanket of snow and even more brilliant with a wisp of sunshine reflecting off of them.

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Some even have icicles hanging from them.

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Looking at other plants in our yard, it was hard not to notice the ice that had frozen around the rose bushes, encasing each branch in a massive glazed chunk.

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Furthermore, the iron workings that surround my wife’s rose garden was also sheathed in a crystalline coating of once thawed-now frozen snow.

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By nightfall, rain clouds replaced the high clouds and the warmth had evaporated into the darkness. In it’s place came a heavy drizzle, which followed shortly by winds and an eight-hour long shower.

This is the perfect recipe for a flood — for which the entirety of Northeastern Nevada is now assembling against. I’m hoping it will be a flood like the one in 1986 – not 1997 and 2005.

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Candy Boxes

Many times random memories, without a real beginning or an end, pop into my head and I write them down with the hope that they’ll form into something more meaningful. Many times though, they don’t and I’m left with nothing more than a scrap of papers with a few words scratched on it, collecting dust.

No more, I’m going to plain-old have it out from this point forward. This morning, as I was cleaning the kitchen counter, I opened the See’s box that had been there since Christmas morning.

Inside were five pieces of chocolate candies, each laced with a helping of almonds. I removed the candies and placed them in a dish on the counter, and proceeded to throw the now-empty box away.

As I did this, I thought, “This would make a wonderful pen and pencil holder.”

Jus’ a fast as the thought came to mind, I laughed and said, “No it wouldn’t – it’s not metal.”

With that my mind was off and running…

The first time I ever had a piece of See’s candy was in 1982. My girlfriend at the time, Cathy, had gone to Los Angeles with her mother to visit her grandma and she brought back a couple of boxes.

And though I have never been one for a lot of candy, it tasted marvelous. Unfortunately, I called the boxes of goodies a ‘Sampler,’ for which I caught hell, because See’s was not like “Whitman’s’ which had ‘commoner’ written all over it.

As a kid, we had Whitman’s Samplers every Christmas. It was a box filled with special treats that everyone could enjoy.

Even more special was a box of Russell Stover’s candies, on which my dad had been raised at Christmas time. The boxes we received were generally two-times the size of the Sampler and that made it all the more special to our family.

Being a strange child, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the candy as I was about the container it came in. And for me, the Sampler ranked supreme as it was often delivered in a tin – perfect for pens and pencils.

I warned you – this tale had no particular ending or real beginning.

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The Flood of 1997

A rainstorm that hit the region on December 30 and lasted until January 3 unleashed the Flood of 1997, the most devastating flood that Northern Nevada, Eastern California and Southern Oregon had seen in nearly a half century, wreaking devastation on communities while claiming two lives.

It was supposed to be my day off, but by mid-afternoon I was at work coordinating drivers and vehicles to help with the evacuation of people trapped in the flood zone as the Truckee River jumped its banks. This wasn’t how I had envisioned spending the first day of January.

Prior to this, I’d been on the phone with Kyle’s mother. Slightly panicked, she was in the process of leaving her and her husband’s home in Talent, Oregon because of the flooding they were experiencing.

As we were talking, the neighbor’s home slipped off its foundation and into the nearby Bear Creek. I told her to grab up her valuables and to get out immediately, that everything else can be replaced.

She, her husband, Kyle’s brother and his sister escaped to safety. As for Kyle, who was only four at the time, he was with Mary and me at the time. I should have known that this was only the beginning of a larger, longer and exhausting event.

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After establishing a command point at 85 Keystone, some four blocks from where the river was raging, we had pulled nine-people to safety who found themselves being flooded out along Riverside Drive. The street runs between Booth and Ralston, along the river.

While we were loading folks up to move them away from the danger, the Reno Fire Department was engaged in a rescue of at least ten kayakers who thought the flooding Truckee would make a wonderful play ground. What made is so dangerous is the fact that the water was racing out of Lake Tahoe at about 2,200 cubic feet per second – 17 feet high, five feet above flood stage and carrying with it bits of houses, entire cars and parts of the upstream forest.

Around 11 p.m., I had only two drivers standing-by to help with evacuations and I sent the dispatchers home for the night. Shortly after that the Reno Police closed down Mill Street east of U.S. 395 as well as Longley Lane and Rock Blvd. That told me that Reno-Tahoe International Airport was now underwater.

I didn’t leave until 3 a.m., only to return by 8 a.m.

The following day, I had a smaller team of drivers staged on Keystone again awaiting directions. By that time, we had learned that the Sparks industrial area was under five-foot of water and that one of CitiLift’s major client, High Sierra Industries, south of the Rattlesnake Mountain area was also underwater.

Eventually, I was instructed to move our command point to Second and Winter Streets. We had watched all morning long as the river slowly crept towards us, damaging one business after another, never quite reaching our newly established safe-zone.

It was about 11 a.m. when I got a call from a RFD Battalion Chief. He told me that they needed us to caravan to Swope Middle School where the Sierra Chapter of the American Cross had established an evacuation center. Evidently, some of the evacuees reported the odor of gas.

Within five minutes, I had vehicles lined up and waiting for our escort, an RPD Humvee. When we drove up across the street from the school, over four-dozen people were milling about in the school yard.

For the first and only time during the entire three-day ordeal I had to “pull rank and take name” as some fool was standing in front of the school puffing away on a cigarette. When I asked him to put the cigarette out, he told me where to stick it, further informing me that he was in charge of his people and that I had no say in the matter.

Fortunately, the police officer that had escorted our caravan to the school instructed the guy that I was indeed in-charge and I only had to say the word, and a ride free-of-charge could be arranged to the local lock-up. The officer pointed out that the situation to him was no longer a shelter or gas leak problem, but a transportation problem, thus leaving me to call the shots.

The man immediately snuffed his butt out and said nothing more. Secretly, I was happy he didn’t call mine or the officers bluff.

First, we loaded everyone who was able to walk. Some of them argued that they didn’t want to go and were told the same thing – which again ended any arguing. Since we had only one person using a wheel chair, I rolled him into my smaller van.

We moved to a designated point two blocks away to await the all-clear. A minute after the word came down that we could return to the school; a man in one of the vehicles suffered a heart attack.

Since we had an ambulance from REMSA in tow, they were able to being treatment of the man and get him to the hospital. Come to find out he’s been suffering chest pains since the night before. He survived the heart attack.

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The most harrowing event took place when we were summoned to a trailer park off of Dickerson Road, where an evacuation would become a rescue. When we arrived, the police were gathered about 100-feet from a trailer that had an elderly woman standing, frantically waving at them from the doorway.

Checking in, I learned they were waiting for the Swift Water Rescue Team to arrive and help pull her to safety. As we watched, the trailer’s wooden steps were swept away, causing the woman to panic worse than she had been.

Before long the trailer began shifting from it’s foundation. We didn’t have time to wait for the team and since we had the a high-clearance vehicle, I decided it was ‘now or never,’ when it came to getting the woman out of the trailer.

“If you don’t want to do this,” I told the driver, “you don’t have to. Jus’ get out of the seat and I’ll do it, okay?”

Without hesitation, he closed the doors to the vehicle, rolled down his side window, slipped the van into gear and slowly drove forward. He already had a plan in his head and it was the same as mine.

The water pushed the van back and forth, but failed to cause it to float, which was the biggest concern we had. Should the van begin to lose traction, we would have been force to back away and watch as tragedy took shape.

The driver (whose name I cannot remember) positioned the van as close to the door way as he could. He then leaned out the window and grabbed the woman by the arms and jerked into the window.

I initially had him by his pants belt to keep him anchored, next thing I know, I had her in my arms as we spilled onto the floor of the vehicle.

Without hesitation, the driver released the emergency brake, pulled the gear lever into reverse and backed out the way we had come in. As we reached safety, the woman’s trailer was struck by a log the size of telephone, causing the trailer to buckle, twist, roll-over and vanish into the muddy waters.

The woman, wet, and shivering from both fright and cold was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for shock and exposure. The driver and I returned to our assigned command post, knowing we’d done the right thing despite of the risk to ourselves and the van.

We caught real hell from the police, who wanted to arrest the pair of us for endangering our lives as we had.

Shortly after 5 p.m., January 2, we were released from our duty and we all returned to the yard. By the next day, the once swollen Truckee had slipped back between its banks and the clean up began for the towns and burghs affected by the flooding.

The following couple of days I attended several meetings meant to debrief those who had participated in the emergency and wrote ‘thank you’ notes to the businesses that supported my drivers as well as awarded certificated to those who helped in the evacuations. Much to my surprise and pleasure, nearly three months later I was given a certificate by my bosses, thanking me.

Today, exactly two-decades later, the weather forecast is sunny and a high of 42 for the in the Reno/Sparks area.

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Skateboarding an Old Man

Dad’s senior high school yearbook contained a photograph of him with a saying next to it: “Never trouble trouble, till trouble troubles you.” As for me, I seem to have been born in trouble and as of yet I’m uncertain which follows the other around – me or it.

While in town, I happened upon a man in his 70s as he was being harassed by a couple of older teens with skateboards. As a rule, I don’t tolerate bullying – more so if it involves a child, an elderly person or an animal –so I knew I had to put a stop to what they were doing to the man.

As I parked my truck and got out, I saw the taller of the two, slam his skateboard into the man’s head, knocking him down. Without much forethought, I stepped between the teen and the man as he sat on the sidewalk.

That’s when the kid swung the board at my head. Much to my surprise as well as his, I blocked it, allowing it to bounce off of my left forearm.

It left the kid stunned and a little slow to react as he step towards me, ready to swing the board at me again. That small pause gave me a chance to do more than defend myself.

As the board bounced off my arm again, I kicked the teen in the groin and grabbed the board as he and it toppled to the cement. That gave me the upper hand as his friend moved in with his board to take a swing at me.

Instead of having to suffer another blow to my forearm, I raised the skateboard, deflecting the strike. As fortune would have it, the wheels on the board I was holding snagged the edge of his board and I was able to jerk it from his hands.

The second kid backed away, unsure of what to do next. As for me, I set both skateboards on the sidewalk and using my full weight, jumped on each, snapping them in half, followed by walking over to the nearby public garbage can and dropped all four halves in the can.

By this time, the second teen had help his partner in crime to his feet and they took off across the nearby four lanes road. That’s where they stood yelling and taunting me as well as the older man, who was now on his feet.

The kid I kicked in the nuts shouted, “Fuck you!”

I responded, “You wouldn’t like it, I’d jus’ lay there and bleed!”

The pair became of a chorus of eff-bombs and threats. Finally, having had enough, I shouted, “Go home you little Homos and come back with your mother!”

By this time they were retreating across parking lot of the mall they’d entered. I started for my truck to get my first-aid kit to clean the bleeding cut on the man’s head, when I was suddenly stopped by a woman yelling and screaming at me.

“How dare you call anyone a homosexual!” she cut loose.

“I didn’t call anyone a homosexual,” I replied in my defense. “I called the little fuckers, ‘Homos,’ which is Latin for man.”

“Oh…” she responded.

Having got my kit from my truck, I walked back over to the man. And as I did, I looked her up and down and stated, “If you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about keep your effing mouth shut.”

“But I…” she started.

“Don’t tell me you thought,” I cut her off, “had you been thinking you’d have stepped in to stop this fellow here from getting beat on.”

As I applied a couple of four-by-fours to his scalp wound, two police cars pulled up to take control of the situation. After dressing the cut, I filled out a report and headed for home.

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Obama Steals More of Nevada

President Barack Obama designated another national monuments Wednesday in Nevada. The 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument outside Las Vegas will supposedly-protect a scenic and ecologically fragile area near where rancher Cliven Bundy led in an armed standoff with government agents in 2014, that includes rock art, artifacts, rare fossils and recently discovered dinosaur tracks.

Retiring Nevada Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid pushed for the federal protections at Gold Butte. This should make the designation suspect enough as he’s known to want the tract for himself, his family and all their cronies.

This latest designation makes a total of 553 million acres of land and water that Obama has repurposed protection using the 1906 Antiquities Act, more than any other president. Nearly 86 percent of Nevada is now owned by the federal government.

Since November, the Obama administration has rushed to ‘safeguard vulnerable areas’ ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration by blocking new mining claims outside Yellowstone National Park and new oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. As all of this occurs, we’re being treated to live-feed video via social media of a Bald Eagle giving birth by our Progressive media.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, dust and pollen.

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Hell’s Half Acre

Shortly after going to bed last night, I thought about my Grandpa Jack, who was Mom’s real father. The thought led to long forgotten memory of the two of us going for a walk along the logging road in the woods above our home.

He and I were talking about how he had lost three bars in the township of Klamath, California due to flooding and one tsunami between 1955 and 1964. After the third loss, the packed up himself and his wife and moved to Salem, Oregon.

In Salem, he took over the Hof Brau Bar and that impressed me. Most folks, including me, I believed would have called it a day and gone looking for something else to do to make a living.

As we walked, I told him this and how I’d like to open a bar one day – maybe with him – when I was old enough. Surprisingly, he didn’t poo-poo the idea, and in fact, said he like the idea.

Being 13 and very naive, I also told him I wanted it to be a ‘cowboy bar,’ and that I even had a name selected; “Hell’s Half Acre.” Grandpa Jack wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of a themed bar or the name and he eventually changed the subject.

Later, after he had headed south to visit my cousin’s in Fortuna, Mom asked what we had talked about on our walk. Once I told her, she was livid, saying, “There is no way you are opening a bar. You’re too young to be thinking about that sort of stuff. You’re jus’ a kid!”

Admittedly wounded, I wandered off to my room to sulk for a while. However, she was right and I promptly forgot about my idea and it was never brought up again.

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The Hellhounds of Hypocrisy

This is me, calling the hell-hounds of hypocrisy down on myself as I berate me and others after falling for Lucifer’s little trick yet again when it came to the death of pop-music idol George Michael. If you haven’t heard, Michael died early this Christmas morning and his passing spread like a wildfire across all media platforms.

While the day of his passing is not Michael’s fault, the fact that I allowed it to overshadow Christ Jesus’ birthday is further proof that Satan uses events in our lives to ‘temporarily forget’ the one who saved us from the fires of Hell. And while, I am not the only one, I haven’t seen anyone else step out and state the obvious: we got played.

This realization struck me as I read a comment from a friend, who stated, “His death plays right into the media’s narrative of the loss of so many well-known musicians in 2016.”

It was one straightforward and truthful sentence and it caused me to think on it all day long before I understood the deeper implications of what was really being said. My delayed understanding caused me to ask and answer this one question: Who is in control of a dishonest media?

You know the answer: Beelzebub. As I wrote before — he played you and I.

Yes, while Michael’s dead is sad and it left many, including myself, stunned, the day should have remained reserved for celebrating the birth of Jesus. He should have been the number one focus of our day, not the sensational news of a pop idol’s death and the social media platforms that help spread that news.

We’re warned, and quite vigorously, I might add, about idol worship as Exodus 20: 3-6 clearly states: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Idol worship, whether in the form of a golden calf or a pop-star, is dangerous and the above warning not only for certain days like Christmas. It is a warning for everyday – an instruction directly from Jesus’ father, God, that we must obey daily or risk the Father’s love.

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The Christmas Bowl

This is a very short-short story I’ve been crafting for the past week with hopes of completing it in time for the holidays. With that said, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, may you receive all that you wish for and all that you need.

Shopping for Christmas gifts has always felt like a chore, especially when I was a kid. While in 8th grade, I was stuck for an idea about what I should get Mom.

It was on a trip to town, and a visit to the Ben Franklin store that I saw, what I believed was the perfect gift for her; a large bowl decorated with Christmas trees. I thought it would be great for holding Mom’s dinner biscuits, breakfast muffins or perhaps her family famous mashed potatoes.

On Christmas day, she opened my gift to her and thanked me with a kiss on the forehead, saying, “I really need this Christmas bowl.”

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t need it all that badly. She placed it a top of her china cabinet, in the corner of the dining room – never once using it.

When she and Dad divorced some seven-years later, the Christmas bowl, as it had come to be known, moved with her. I was surprised to see it resting on top of her china cabinet once again after she settled into a rental.

Twenty-one years later, and having long since gotten beyond the hurt of her never having used it for anything other than decoration, I finally asked her why. I could tell my question left a sense of sadness in her as she sat across from me at her dining table.

“I thought you knew,” she answered. “That’s not jus’ a Christmas bowl to me, that’s my ‘need’ bowl.”

“I don’t understand,” I interrupted.

Smiling now, Mom explained, “As long as it’s empty – all my needs are met.”

That was one of our last face-to-face conversations, and ironically it was also at Christmastime; Mom died six months later. After she passed away, the Christmas bowl was handed down to me.

And now it sits — unused — atop my wife’s china-hutch, because all of our needs are met.

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My Bath Mat’s Bad Intent

It isn’t very often that I have a truly bizarre nightmare, but last night was one for the record book. And I can honestly say I know where this one started – I jus’ can’t explain why it happened or what it means – if it means anything at all.

Prior to turning out the light last night, my wife asked that along with the regular Friday laundry, I wash our anti-slip shower mat. It has been a couple of weeks since being cleaned and it does grow mold on its underside from being continually used and wet.

So in my dream, I was washing the towels and I had jus’ put them in the dryer, when I returned to the bathroom to pull the mat up from bottom of the tub. As I did this the damned mat appeared to come to life and began wrapping my left arm up in its moldy suckers.

Even though I had myself leveraged against the tiled wall with one foot and the other on the edge of the tub, I was still losing to the mat. And before long, the tug-of-war turned one-sided and I found myself yanked inside the tub.

My battle with the mat didn’t end there, as the tub suddenly seemed to be as large as a small backyard swimming pool. Off-balance and with nothing to grab onto, the mat dragged me from where I had originally fallen into the tub towards the tub’s drain.

As I drew closer to the drain, I realized, much to my panic, that the drain’s opening was as wide as a 50-gallon oil drum and that the mat intended to pull me down it. By this time I was slashing, stabbing and cutting at the mat with my lock-blade knife – but without result.

In a last desperate attempt to get loose from the mat-turned-multi-suckered monster, I began slicing and sawing at my arm, hoping to cut myself free. I remember screaming as the tub filled with my blood and I began to slip down the drain.

Fortunately, I awoke, sitting up right in bed with one of the dog’s standing over my legs, looking at me. I’m not sure which of us seemed more confused at the time – him or me.

It took me a few minutes to calm down, wipe away the cold sweat that clung to my body, get a drink of water, and lay back and fall asleep again. The rest of the night passed with no other nightmares or even a dream.

This morning I find myself baffled by the fact that my top-left forearm aches as if I had beat it to death with a club. And worse yet — I’m more than a little apprehensive about retrieving the bath mat for its appointment with the washing machine.

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The Genesis of a Daydreaming Future

When I was a kid, I was a hopeless day-dreamer. Often alone and often lonely, I constantly found myself thinking of a bright future and as silly as it might seem now, but as a child, I latched on to Genesis 12: 1-3 which reads:

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’”

This became a blueprint of sorts for me for about three years, from about the ages of 10 or 11. As a kid I was dying to get away from my small town life, get out into the world to do something big – something that might bring me money and fame.

While I never really expected to be made into a ‘great nation,’ I always thought that maybe I’d have a super-close network of friends and co-workers who’d back me up in whatever effort I under took. I did, however, expect my name to become ‘great’ and that I would always do my best to be a ‘blessing’ to everyone around me.

My belief in this bible verse came back to me shortly before my discharge from the service as I sat on the rocks looking out at the Pacific Ocean, day after day, for a month because I had nothing else better to do at the time. It was here that I came to know that I had to move away from my home and head for Reno, Nevada.

I had been through the ‘Biggest Little City’ several times and I had always found it comfortable to be in.

Unfortunately, I allowed myself to become waylaid as I took up residence in Arcata, California – only 90 miles at the time from Crescent City and by then a life-time away from Klamath. I went further off track by moving to Las Vegas, Nevada for a couple of very hard and hungry months before I packed up and headed north.

Because I ‘failed to keep my end of the bargain,’ at 25-years old I found myself living in my VW in the parking lot of a casino in Reno, Nevada. Looking back, I think that is where my daydream and imaginings really took a left-turn and I faltered in my faith, concluding that the verse I’d put my heart and soul into in Genesis would not come true.

Perhaps, that’s what the Old Russian proverb, “We plan, God laughs,’ means. I took it upon my self to alter my destination and therefore God’s promise for me has not come about to its fullest.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to this long-forgotten memory. This morning, I’m putting it into play again and I think you should do the same: dream the biggest dream you can and then stand on God’s promise to make it happen.

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Harry Reid’s Final Deflection

In 2014, Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson accused Senator Harry Reid of accepting a “massive bribe,” but he shortly died thereafter and no investigation was launched. Now, Davis County, Utah, Prosecutor Troy Rawlings is asking if the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to investigate the connection between a $2 million cashier’s check and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The check, made out to ‘Mail Media LTD,’ was drawn on a St. George, Utah bank on November 5, 2010 and eventually sent to Ireland-based Full Tilt Poker, where it was deposited at Basler Kantonalbank (ZKB) in Switzerland. Recently, two ZBK bankers have been accused of helping U.S. customers stash hundreds of millions of dollars, out of the reach of federal tax authorities.

Rawlings wants to know whether the check went into a Marshall Islands account in the name of Searchlight Holding Inc. to benefit Reid. He points to documents, audio recordings and thousands of pages of transcripts, summaries, emails and other material that show how the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI failed to pursue the investigation of the money and its ties to Reid.

A few days after the allegations were made public, Reid announced his retirement.

This isn’t the first time the Obama administration’s DOJ has failed to investigate allegations of Reid’s criminal activity. In 2015, Reid was implicated in a scheme to approve visas for non-qualified foreigners who were also wealthy Chinese investors of his son Rory’s casino clients.

And as pressure mounts on President-elect Trump’s incoming administration to investigate the soon-to-be-retired Reid, the former Senate leader has gone verbally nuclear again, claiming the Trump campaign worked with WikiLeaks and the Russians to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

“Someone in the Trump campaign organization was in on the deal. I have no doubt. Now, whether they told [Trump] or not, I don’t know,” Reid spouted off without proof of such charges. “I assume they did. But there is no question about that. So there is collusion there, clearly.”

It’s another case of misdirection on Reid’s part and the first move from his 30-year long playbook of congressional treachery.

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Nevada’s Illegal Voting Problems Continue to Ramp-up

While the Progressive media continues to claim election fraud due to so-called ‘fake news stories,’ a number of Resident Aliens (RA) in Southern Nevada are seeking legal protection after being notified by the U.S. Immigration and Customer Enforcement Agency of possible deportation proceedings for illegally voting in last November’s election. An RA is a foreign person who is a permanent resident of the U.S., but doesn’t have citizenship, making it illegal for a non-U.S. citizen to vote in the United States.

The problem comes from the fact that RA’s are issued social security numbers and, since January 2014, are legally allowed to get a Nevada driver’s license. Plus, there’s nothing about an RA’s driver’s license to differentiate it from that of a U.S. citizen other than the expiration date corresponds with the RA’s visa expiration date so there’s no way for the Clark County Elections Department to determine if the driver’s license is that of an RA or a U.S. citizen based on Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicle’s (DMV) computer files.

Complicating this even more is President Obama’s executive action, taken in November 2014, which granted ‘semi-legal’ status to 4.1 million illegal aliens and 270,000 others who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The possibility of illegal voting has been widely ignore, though some news outlets like the Washington Times exposed the subject as far back as February 12, 2015, writing, “Republicans say there are a host of unintended consequences, including the chances of illegal voting…”

Finally, there’s no word on whether the recently discovered illegal votes are to be discarded.

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The Travails of Fence Ownership

UPDATE:  The fence is whole once again. Now to figure out how to stop the dogs from tearing up more.

Well, I ran an errand this afternoon to come and find a note on my door that our dogs had escaped into the neighbor’s backyard. Yup, all three running around after shattering two six-inch wide redwood fence slats.

After wrangling them and getting them back in our yard, I headed down to the lumber yard to buy two new slats and a piece of pressboard to use as a temporary stop-gap measure to keep the dog on our property. After purchasing and loading it, I started for home only to have a third of the pressboard snap off and fly way.

Shit!

Turning around to retrieve it, I couldn’t find it as it was dark by the time I got out of the lumber yard. What piece of the wood I had left, I dragged out to the fence and nailed over the gap with the intent of completing the repairs in the morning by replacing the broken slats.

And then I wonder why my back never seems to get better.

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Dumbrowski’s Big Mistake

It took us at least two-hours of standing in the rain to finally pick up our luggage in such a fashion that the Instructors were satisfied. It then that were we ordered inside the large building at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas. That’s where the pace picked up as one Sergeant barked instructions and several others moved through the ragged line of young men.

They too were shouting instructions and cursing at us. It was all part of a larger plan, as I had been told by Dad, to keep everyone on the edge of confusion.

“They’re going to break you down into a basic unit and then build you up into a team unit,” he had said.

It was a struggling to keep pace with the different commands I was being given. They came at me so much faster than I could think.

Suddenly there was a break in the yelling and shouting as one Instructor stood with his hands firmly placed on his hips. He was standing over a kneeling and extremely confused enlistee.

“We got ourselves one of those California queers,” he barked.

The young man on his knees stopped moving. He had been pulled clothing from his bag as instructed.

Unfortunately, the clothing he had his hand appeared to be feminine. He had a terribly confused look on his face.

“Did you or did you not, double-check your bag at the airport as you were told?” the Instructor bellowed.

Another instructor shouted, “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

They weren’t really questions as much as they were statements of intimidation. The young man’s lower jaw moved up and down, but no sound came from his mouth.

“What the hell is your name?” the first instructor asked in a deep voice.

“Dum-dum-dum-browski,” he finally stuttered.

The instructor reached down and yanked several pieces of clothing from the unzipped bag and held them up. Included in the handful was a couple of pair of women’s panties, a bra and a satin nightie.”

There were light snickers from the other Newbie’s as we would soon be called. We watched Dumbrowski as he nearly came to tears over the humiliation the piece of luggage had brought him.

Secretly, I knew that each man was glad that he had not made the same mistake and each man felt a sudden sense of guilt at the thought. I know, I was one of them.

“Well, Dumb-dumb-dumb-browski,” the instructor said, making fun of the man’s scared-stuttering, “Grab your gear and fall out to that table.”

Dumbrowski grabbed up everything he could in one large arm full and rushed to the far side of the room, where the Instructor had pointed. It was clear that he wasn’t the only one with the wrong luggage.

However, Dumbrowski was the only one to end up with a bag full of women’s clothing. He would go on to survive the night and eventually graduate from Basic Training a couple of months later.

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The Honest Soul

My wife is such an honest soul. A couple of days ago she went to Walmart and bought a matching bath mat set.

Once she got them home, she realized that they wouldn’t work in our bathroom, so she made plans to return them. That’s when she discovered she had not paid for one of the rugs.

Initially, it concerned her that if upon returning these item that she might get arrested or something. I reassured her that she wouldn’t and more over she’d probably shock the person at customer service with her honesty.

And that’s exactly how it happened. The young woman behind the counter exclaimed, “Really?! Why?”

Mary answered, “Because it doesn’t belong to me.”

“Wow…thank you so much,” came the woman’s response.

I have a feeling Mary’s honesty came as more than a shock to that woman — I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a blessing to her — a reaffirmation that good people really do exist.

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The Real Terror in a Night Terror

It was a long, dark corridor made of cinder-blocks. A single shaft of light from a cross-secting hallway was the only visible reference to this complex I was reconnoitering.

Quickly, but quietly I moved toward the stab of light knowing that slipping through it was a danger I had to face. Without warning, I was body slammed, carried by the momentum of my attacker into the lit hallway and smashed against the wall.

Whoever it was, they had my right arm wrenched so far up my back that I could feel the back of my hand against my left shoulder-blade. I struggle to get free but to no avail.

The searing pain in my right shoulder was so intense that I was certain it was about to tear from its socket. I found myself on my tip-toes and pushing against the wall with my free right hand trying to avoid the pain.

My attacker then proceeded to bash the right side of my head against the wall. Once finished with that they placed their left forearm against my neck at the base of my skull, pinning me against the rough surface of the blocks.

That’s when I saw him approaching. While I didn’t know him per se, I recognized the sadistic grin on his face and heard the guttural laughter as it echoed about the walls.

The pain was so white-hot throughout my body that I couldn’t fully understand what it was he was saying as his face drew closer and closer to mine. As he pressed his face forward, I literally seized the opportunity to fight back.

Since my left hand was still free, I reached up and grabbed him by the face, pressing my thumb and ring-finger deep into his temples. This brought more violence against me as he punched and thrashed against my grip.

Then I heard him scream my name, “TOM!”

This jolted me and after several more shouts of my name and as many more blows to my face and arm, I let go. That’s also when I woke up.

Another night terror and I had attacked my wife as she lay asleep next to me. There aren’t enough, “I’m so sorry,” to ease her fear or cover may shame.

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The Forgotten Death of a Forgotten Actor

As an actor, Jimmy Ferrara shared the screen with a number of Hollywood stars and owned the TWT (Tomorrow Will Tell) Ranch in central Nevada. Only 65-years-old at the time  of his murder on September 30, 1985 in Yuma Arizona, it would take more than 20-years to bring his killers to justice.

Born May 11, 1920, in New York City to Soloadose and Laura Ferrara, he’s described as a ‘bit-actor from the 1940’s,’ appearing opposite of Humphey Bogart, Roy Rogers, and Bill Elliot. And he also served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II.

jimmie-ferraraIt was while in the Coast Guard that Ferrara dated Rita Hayworth. According to Hollywood historians, Rita once snuck a bottle of bourbon to him after he got thrown in the brig for punching an officer.

He married actress Carole Gallagher on November 27, 1946, having been married once before, to Kathleen Cartmill, in 1942, whom he divorced in 1944 or 1945. On October 3, 1981, while visiting Reno, Nevada, Ferrara got hitched for a third-time to Delma Lee Troy.

Less than four-years later, this third marriage would prove his undoing.

Ferrara was last seen driving near his house with a friend Carly Axel, after he returned from a Nevada vacation. Half-an-hour later, Ferrara was found shot four times in the head and upper body.

Nearly 21-years later, Rick Kosterow, Donald White and Ferrara’s estranged wife, Delma found themselves charged with his murder. Her arrest was made as she shopped at the local Walmart in Fallon, Nevada, near her home.

Assistant Fallon Police Chief Ray Dolan said  Troy had lived in Fallon since 1987 based on records of contact with her over the years, which included a noise complaint filed by a neighbor and had lived at her current address since 2004 when she called to report a fire. He said he was contacted by Arizona detectives who had developed information that Troy was living in Fallon and that she was wanted for the decades-old murder.

Police had reopened the case after getting a series of phone calls from an ex-wife of one of the defendants, and another call from Kosterow’s uncle, whom Kosterow had swindled. The uncle told police Kosterow had admitted to the shooting years before.

Further investigation brought to light the fact that Troy, who was unhappy in her marriage, had been having an affair with Kosterow.  She told him she wanted Ferrara killed, and he enlisted White to help carry out the deed.

White pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received 20 years in prison. However, Kosterow decided to plead not guilty arguing that the case against him was “full of holes and there was no physical evidence” that linked him to the crime.

Both White and Troy testified against Kosterow.  The jury found Kosterow guilty of first-degree murder, felony first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and he was given life with the possibility of parole.

White pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was given 20 years in prison. Troy eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and received 20-years in prison where she died in 2015.

Jimmie Ferrara rests in the Unionville Cemetery, in Unionville, Pershing County, Nevada, not far from his ranch that he loved.

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Missing the Missing in the Reno/Sparks Area

kristy porter UPDATE: Kristy Porter has been found safe. She apparently left of her own free will. Furthermore Sparks PD is now reporting that the family didn’t report her missing until Thanksgiving Day and that she has done this before.

Kristy Porter has been missing since November 11, 2016 and not a word had been mentioned in either the local press or law enforcement about her disappearance until a day ago. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old run-away named Cassie Kaufman has been highlighted several times.

The difference between the two cases and how they’ve been handles comes down to the difference between the agencies that are handling the cases. In the Kaufman case, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office immediately set about releasing information on the teen’s disappearance, calling her a possible-run away and providing updates.

In Porters’ case the Sparks Police Department has been woefully delinquent in providing the information about the woman’s disappearance and only seemed moved to make the case public after it was brought to light via social media and a national news organization working with the Missing Pieces Network. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for the Sparks PD to withhold information from the public or the press as they have done in this situation – acting as if they are holding the combination to the main vault of Fort Knox.

28-year-old Kristy Porter, also known as Kristy Ipock, is white, 5’3″ tall, 120 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing a black and white print top and a lightweight black unbuttoned sweater with black dress pants. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sparks Police Detectives at 353-2225.

cassy kaufmandevin mccarthyKauffman is white, 5’8″ tall, 135 pounds with strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. No one seems to have a description of McCarthy, (something that a real news outlet would want) other than to say he has dark, shoulder-length hair, brown-eyes and a goatee.

The one note the local media gleaned from the press release and seems to include in every update is that McCarthy is wanted by the Nevada Department of Parole and Probation on unrelated charges. Anyone with information about either of these two are asked to call (775) 328-3320.

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Nevada SOS Opens Probe — But It Ain’t What You Think…

As I stated back when she was running for Nevada Secretary of State, Barbara Cegavske is and always has been a Progressive – and yet the Republican Party embraced her whole-heartedly and without shame. And this week, she proved my assertion.

Cegavske opened a criminal probe, but not into the 9,200 returned letters from active voters listing vacant lots as home addresses or Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings or Edward Snowden being registered in Nevada Assembly District 15. And she didn’t open a probe into Democrats using illegal aliens and felons to register new voters, nor is she looking into all the Nevadans who reported showing up to the polls to vote only to be told they had already voted and were given a provisional ballot.

Nope. Nevada’s Progressive Republican Secretary of State opened a criminal investigation into the Republican State Party and whether workers failed to turn in voter registration forms for Democrats who Republicans registered. This is the third time she’s shown her true-colors.

Earlier this year, she investigated another GOP voter registration group, Strategic Allied Consulting, again focusing on Democratic registration forms not filed by the staff. Cegavske also investigated and then charged Republican political consultant Tony Dane.

The Dane case continues to this day.

So now, after failing to investigate allegations of voter fraud in Nevada, the Obama administration’s Department of Justice has stepped into investigate the 9,200 returned letters. And we all know how that probe is going to turn out.

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